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Statistically speaking, the Ferguson Effect is bogus. No one who believes in the Ferguson Effect will care.

Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

A new report from NYU School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice analyzed data from 25 of the country’s 30 largest urban centers and found that, while the murder rate has increased in 14 of those cities, crime, overall, is decreasing, as it has been for decades. The much-maligned “spike” in murders, moreover, is well within the typical year-to-year variance you would expect from any complicated--and, to some extent, random--societal pattern. “Reports of rising crime across the country,” the paper reads, “are not supported by the available data.” 

That’s an academic way of saying that FBI Director James Comey, DEA Chief Chuck Rosenberg, Route 9 traffic cone Chris Christie, and all the other people you may have heard bemoaning the deleterious effects of racial justice advocacy on nationwide public safety have been talking out of their asses. But you didn’t need a study to tell you that. The Ferguson Effect is an objectively verifiable statement about reality that no one ever bothered to verify. Its adherents didn’t let the lack of conclusive evidence stop them from promoting it as fact. There’s no reason to presume that compelling evidence against will be any more dissuasive.