Combatting violent crime is risky business in the age of BLM

Last year, the homicide count in Washington, D.C. reached a 36-year high. So far this year, D.C. homicides are up 38 percent from the same time last year.

During the past weekend alone, at least 11 people were shot in D.C. Three of them died.

D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser says she will respond by pouring extra police officers into six historically crime-ridden neighborhoods. The idea is to head off violence.

This approach makes obvious sense, assuming (1) the city has enough officers to make it work and (2) officers will police the neighborhoods proactively. It remains to be seen whether these assumptions, especially the second, hold.

But even if they do, the approach is not without problems in our woke age. Flooding high-crime areas with cops will lead to more arrests in these neighborhood and, presumably, fewer arrests in neighborhoods from which the resources are pulled.

The high-crime neighborhoods have a higher proportion of minority group members, especially Blacks, than the low-crime neighborhoods. Therefore, the disparity between Black and White arrests in the city will increase.

Under BLM-equity theory, which is becoming mainstream liberal ideology, this will be evidence of increased racism. Indeed, even before the emergence of BLM, leftists complained, for example, that more Blacks are arrested for drug offenses to a disproportionate degree even though, allegedly, Whites use drugs as frequently as Blacks.

We should expect this “disproportionality” to increase when police officers pour into high-crime neighborhoods. That increase will be accompanied by shouts of racism and calls to defund the police.

Encounters between police officers and criminals will also increase, assuming the officers police actively. On this assumption, officers will attempt more arrests of career criminals, suspects high on drugs, suspects who hate the police, suspects with outstanding warrants who feel they can’t afford another arrest, and suspects who simply don’t want to be arrested.

The increase in these encounters in largely black neighborhoods will increase the incidence of cases where officers employ violence to capture and subdue black suspects. In a few cases, the violence may become excessive. But whether or not it does, the increase in encounters involving police violence creates a serious risk, in the current environment, of “viral” incidents and mass protests.

An increase in viral incidents of police violence creates the real risk that the Biden Justice Department will “investigate” the police department. Analysis shows that when viral incidents lead to DOJ involvement, crime increases significantly, presumably because some officers quit the force and many others police only passively.

How would the city, already plagued by a record wave of homicides, then respond to yet another surge of killings brought on by investigations of “racism” by officers? By pouring yet more officers into high-crime neighborhoods, thereby doubling down on perceived failure? Perhaps. But more likely by essentially giving up.

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