MacDonald Defends View That Less Proactive Policing Means More Crime


The Manhattan Institute’s Heather MacDonald defends her argument that “the growing reluctance of cops to engage in proactive policing may help explain the spike in violent crime” in some cities, a phenomenon dubbed the “Ferguson effect.” Writing in the Wall Street Journal, she says that, “Officers in urban areas are encountering high levels of resistance and hostility when they try to make an arrest,” and are reluctant to investigate suspicious behavior if they might end up “in a widely distributed video if an arrest goes awry.”

Among several critics, Charles Blow of the New York Times called MacDonald a “fear-mongering iron fist-er.” Radley Balko cited MacDonald in the Washington Post as part of a “growing backlash against police reform.” Writing in response, MacDonald says it’s true that violent crime isn’t skyrocketing everywhere, “but in the present environment of nonstop animosity toward police nationally, with officers' self-professed reluctance to engage reflected in a documented drop in stops and summonses, it is not too early to flag what might be going on.”

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