Paul Cassell is Ronald N. Boyce Presidential Professor of Criminal Law and University Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law. In other words, a prominent scholar. At the Volokh Conspiracy he modestly poses the question “Are Minneapolis Crime Increases Evidence of a ‘Ferguson Effect’?”
Professor Cassell isn’t the first observer to pose the question. Heather Mac Donald has already argued that Minneapolis has given rise to “Ferguson Effect 2.0 or the Minneapolis Effect[.]” While Heather has examined the effect nationally, Professor Cassell refines Heather’s analysis by focusing on the crime spike (gun crimes mostly) in Minneapolis that is likely due to a reduction in police activity – our very own “Ferguson effect.” Drawing on his scholarly expertise along with the Washington Free Beacon article and related research by Charles Fain Lehman, Professor Cassell writes:
[S]ome crimes–specifically gun crimes–have increased in that city while other kinds of crimes have not. A “Ferguson effect” appears to explain this pattern. Minneapolis police have stopped making as many street stops as they made previously. And given the unique responsiveness of gun crimes to policing activity, the tragic result of that pullback has been an increase in shootings.
Professor Cassell’s analysis tentatively advances our understanding of the “Minnesota madness.” Highly recommended.