This is an exerpt from a New York Times article. A link to the full article can be found at the end.
Deconstructing the 'Ferguson Effect"
By Shaila Dewan
It was a narrative that resonated with law-and-order advocates after the long August of 2014, when unrest followed the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. The police, vilified and facing a hostile public, were unable to do their jobs, leaving criminals to run amok. It was called the Ferguson effect.
Though based on thin evidence and met with fierce rebuttals, the theory keeps coming up. This month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said some officers were “reluctant to get out of their squad cars.” He blamed intense public scrutiny, criticism, viral videos and “targeted killings of police.”
Some cities have seen disturbing increases in violence, and some officers have reported feeling under siege. But changes in the crime rate are notoriously difficult to explain: The decades-long decline in crime in the United States has been attributed to factors as disparate as mass incarceration, reduced exposure to lead paint and even the availability of legal abortions.
In perhaps the most global study, David C. Pyrooz, a sociologist at the University of Colorado Boulder, and his co-authors looked at crime rates in 81 large American cities in the year after Mr. Brown’s death and found no overall increase. However, in some cities — like Baltimore, New Orleans, St. Louis and Washington — there was a striking upward trend in homicides.