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Los Angeles Police Department

Charlie Beck: The real Ferguson effect in L.A.

Charlie Beck: The real Ferguson effect in L.A.

Crime statistics for 2015 showed a sharp increase in violent crimes in Los Angeles — and the rest of the country — over previous years.

One much-discussed rationale for the crime spike is the so-called Ferguson effect. This is the theory that law enforcement has withdrawn from protecting communities as a result of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014 and the nationwide public outrage that followed. Some argue that officers have become reluctant to engage in proactive policing and are arresting fewer suspects because they fear intense media scrutiny and public condemnation.

That is not what's...