The aftermath of a consent decree designed to limit proactive policing
Study concludes a reduction in proactive stops by Chicago police officers was responsible for the spike in homicides and shootings
By ALADS Board of Directors
This article is reprinted with permission from the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS)
Against the backdrop of decreasing arrests and a rising crime rate in California, we have explained that a fully staffed and motivated department will lead to less crime and be financially beneficial to the community. A just-released study (which you can see in full below) on the 2016 homicide and shooting spike in Chicago provides empirical support of our views regarding a motivated police department.
The authors of the study noted, there was a "lack of empirical effort devoted to exploring the causal factor or factors" behind the soaring rise in homicides and shootings, and that finding out why, was "to put it bluntly, of life and death importance." They decided to employ their empirical tools to identify what had changed in Chicago that caused a 58% rise in the homicide rate from 2015 to 2016.
The 96-page study concluded a reduction in proactive stops by Chicago police officers at the end of 2015, and continuing throughout 2016, was responsible for the spike in homicides and shootings. Most importantly, their conclusion as to what caused the proactivity rate to plummet was "a consent decree entered into by the ACLU and the Chicago Police Department."
That decree required a two-page form with 70 entries to be completed after every investigatory stop, whether or not a pat-down resulted. The form documented every aspect of the stop, including race/ethnicity/gender of the persons stopped, reasons for the stop, what occurred during the stop, whether contraband was discovered, and what happened as a result of the stop. These forms were then to be collected and forwarded to the ACLU for entry into a database.
In the three years prior to the consent decree, Chicago police officers averaged 40,000 stops a month. After the consent decree went into effect, the average number of stops plunged to below 10,000 per month, a reduction of at least 75%. What is most striking is that this was precisely what the ALCU desired to happen. The ACLU boasted on their website following the signing of the decree that, "We are confident the agreement will result in fewer stops on Chicago streets."
The empirical study provided a sobering takeaway of the human and financial cost of a consent decree the researchers concluded led to ending proactive policing in Chicago.
"Our equations permit us to quantify the costs of the decline in stop and frisks, both in human and financial terms. We conclude that, because of fewer stop and frisks in 2016, a conservative estimate is that approximately 236 additional homicides and 1115 additional shootings occurred during that year. A reasonable estimate of the social costs associated with these additional homicides and shootings is about $1,500,000,000. And these costs are heavily concentrated in Chicago's African-American and Hispanic communities," said the authors.
It is a study well worth reading.
About the author
The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS) is the collective bargaining agent representing more than 7,900 deputy sheriffs and district attorney investigators working in Los Angeles County. Follow ALADs on Facebook and Twitter.