The rise of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests and riots over the last ten years has led to a spike in murder rates in the years during and after they occurred.
As the Daily Caller reports, BLM riots that occurred between 2014 and 2021 caused over 3,000 additional murders, an increase of 11.5%. From 2014 to 2019, there were approximately 200 fewer deaths when police used lethal measures to deal with riots. The data was compiled by a study in the Journal of Urban Economics on September 14th.
“A growing body of research has found that, after protests draw public attention to officer-involved killings, police officers become less proactive, pulling back from enforcing the law or other practices aimed at ensuring public safety due to fear of criticism, lawsuits, or low morale,” the study reads. “And, as aversion to the criminal justice system increases and willingness to cooperate with law enforcement decreases, some resort to violence to resolve conflicts, potentially explaining the rise in homicides.”
“Specifically, over the five years after local BLM protests, property crime arrests decreased by approximately 12%, while reported murders increased by roughly 11.5%, which is over 3000 additional homicides. Moreover, the property crime clearance rate experienced a sharp decline of around 8%,” the study continues. “These statistics are not only alarming but also offer compelling evidence of a substantial decrease in police activity.”
The journal’s study focused on over 1,000 cities and towns where at least one BLM protest took place between 2014 and 2021, and then cross-referenced this information with data on homicides, crime, and police behavior in those same localities. The study then contrasted the experiences of cities hit by the protests from 2014 to 2015 with those that were damaged by even larger riots from 2020 to 2021, noting how various police forces changed their behaviors between those two periods.
In the summer of 2020 alone, murder rates rose by 30% compared to 2019; this was the single largest annual spike in murder rates since the FBI first began recording this information in 1960.
Although the Black Lives Matter movement is generally considered to have started with the shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012, widespread protests did not begin until the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014; both instances were determined to be the use of self-defense by their respective victims, George Zimmerman and Officer Darren Wilson.
Black Lives Matter quickly accelerated into a nationwide movement of violent riots after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died of a fentanyl overdose while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota in May of 2020. The riots impacted dozens of cities, and resulted in hundreds of businesses being destroyed, over $2 billion worth of damage caused, and the murders of over a dozen civilians.