BLM protests' impact on nationwide murder rate

Supporting violence leads to more violence. It seems obvious, but progressives continue to try and convince the public that the opposite is true. A study in the Journal of Urban Economics shows Black Lives Matter protests led to an 11.5% increase in nationwide murders over five years. This amounts to thousands of people who lives apparently did not matter to BLM protesters.

The study looked at how the BLM protests affected police arrests, but it also noted, “The findings of the event study suggest that the BLM protests led police departments to pull back from interactions with the public and obtain body cameras, leading to increased crime and decreased police killings.”

However, while the study notes that fatal shooting by police saved an estimated 200 lives, the reluctance of police to get involved or their inability to respond to calls led to a 12% decrease in property-crime arrests between 2014 and 2019. Also, over that same period reported murders increased about 11.5%, which equates to about 3,000 additional people killed by someone other than the police.

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In other words, the riots created an environment with less police involvement. Because of this, there are fewer arrests for property crime and thousands more people dead who may not have been killed if Black Lives Matters hadn’t encouraged violent protests.

To be fair, the study also found that the protests contributed to the 14% increase of law enforcement agencies that have their officers wearing body cameras. This helps protect both the officers and public.

The study looked at data from more than 1,000 cities and towns with at least one BLM protest from 2014-21 based on web data and data on homicides, crime and police behavior. The research compared changes to police behavior in cities that experienced protests in 2014-15 and those that had demonstrations from 2020-21 to estimate how BLM influenced police behavior over a five-year period.

The study has limitations, which the author notes, and one that he doesn’t. It is projecting future deaths based on historic data. This can be hard to quantify because so many factors can affect the numbers. The author did the best with the data available, though.

One concern is that the study, at least from the abstract, focuses on changes to police operations that can be attributed to the protest. Thus, 200 fewer fatal shootings by police is a good thing. While it does mention that the data also shows there were 3,000 more murders, it doesn’t weigh that against the lives saved.

In simple terms, 3,000 people died to save 200. This is a horrific cost of the BLM protests.

Progressives will undoubtedly tout the 200 lives saved and ignore the 3,000 additional people killed. So, if black lives truly mattered to those protesters, they would 1) accept responsibility for their actions, and 2) stop protesting. In doing so, they could claim they are saving thousands of lives, many of which will be black lives.

While the conclusion that ignoring murder and violence not only doesn’t make it go away, but actually encourages it to increase, it is helpful to see hard numbers that show this.

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