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NCJ Number: 251067 Find in a Library
Title: Assessing and Responding to the Recent Homicide Rise in the United States
Author(s): Richard Rosenfeld; Shytierra Gaston; Howard Spivak; Seri Irazola
Date Published: November 2017
Page Count: 46
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
Contract Number: 2010F_10097
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
US Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
810 Seventh Street NW
Washington, DC 20531
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Issue Overview; Report (Grant Sponsored); Report (Technical Assistance)
Format: Document; Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis considers two explanations of the increase in big-city homicides in 2015 and 2016, so as to guide future research.
Abstract: One proposed explanation of the homicide rise is the expansion in illicit drug markets due to the expansion of the heroin and synthetic opioid epidemic. A second explanation is the “Ferguson effects,” named for the city that experienced a highly publicized community reaction to perceptions of police abuse of power. This paper hypothesizes that the Ferguson effects have resulted in the withdrawal of some police resources from high-crime areas and a questioning of police intentions, fairness, and effectiveness in addressing violence. Larger increases in drug-related homicides than in other types of homicide constitute preliminary evidence that expansions in illicit drug markets have contributed to the overall homicide increase. Current evidence of the Ferguson effects in the homicide increase are mixed at best. Surveys of police show widespread concern about police-community tensions and reductions in proactive policing in the aftermath of widely publicized deadly encounters between police and African-Americans. Nationwide, arrest-offense ratios and arrest clearance rates decreased in 2015, but they had been declining for several years when homicide rates were declining. One study indicated that calls for police service declined after a controversial violent encounter between police and an unarmed African-American in Milwaukee. The reduction in calls for services was greater in African-American neighborhoods than in other neighborhoods. The rate at which the police are contacted is only one of several indicators needed to measure any connection between diminished police legitimacy and the recent increase in homicides. The authors emphasize the provisional nature of their hypotheses regarding the recent homicide increase. Recommendations for research on these hypotheses are provided. 1 table, 15 figures, and 95 references
Main Term(s): Crime causes theory
Index Term(s): Black/African Americans; Drug Related Crime; Drug related fatalities; Homicide; Homicide causes; Homicide trends; NIJ grant-related documents; NIJ Resources; Police resource allocation; Police-minority relations
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