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Does Community Distrust of Police Account for the Crime Explosion?

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Yesterday, the Federalist Society hosted a teleforum discussing federal oversight of local police departments.  The link is here.  The participants were Chuck Canterbury, President of the Fraternal Order of Police, and Vanita Gupta, formerly the top civil rights prosecutor for President Obama's Civil Rights Division at DOJ.

Although the main reason offered for the unprecedented (to my knowledge) push to oversee police departments through federal consent decrees is to keep supposedly cowboy policing within constitutional bounds, that is not the only reason.  An additional but very important reason, seemingly offered to bring over conservative skeptics, is that federal supervision is needed to restore community trust in the police, thus to foster neighborhood cooperation and information sharing.  That, in turn, will produce more effective policing and lower crime.

I called in to ask about this.
The gist of my question was derived from this Gallup poll published six months ago, titled "American's Respect for Police Surges."

Among the poll's findings were:

Gallup has asked this question nine times since 1965. The percentage who say they respect the police is significantly higher now than in any measurement taken since the 1990s and is just one point below the high of 77% recorded in 1967. Solid majorities of Americans have said they respect their local law enforcement in all polls conducted since 1965.

*********************

The increase in shootings of police coincided with high-profile incidents of law enforcement officials shooting and killing unarmed black men. Despite the flaring of racial tensions after these incidents, respect for local police has increased among both whites and nonwhites.

Four in five whites (80%) say they have a great deal of respect for police in their area, up 11 points from last year. Meanwhile, two in three nonwhites (67%) report having the same level of respect, an increase of 14 points from last year.


Given these findings, it seemed to me that the central premise behind the "more effective policing" rationale for these consent decrees is simply false:  Even in the face of a number of highly-publicized police shootings of black men or teenagers, trust in the police is, not only not a problem, it's a strength  --  indeed, stronger now than at any time since Woodstock, and certainly stronger than at any time during the Great Crime Depression of 1991 - 2014.

If Gallup's findings are correct or even close to correct, the rationale that we-need-improved-trust-in-cops-to-have-less-crime is  --  how shall I say this?  -- fake news. It's made up, just as the ACLU claims I discussed yesterday are made up.

When I cited and quoted from the Gallup findings in my question to the teleforum's experts, Mr. Canterbury largely agreed with me.  Ms. Gupta said not one word.

So much for accountability and the supposed liberal interest in data.

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