Baltimore Tipped

Last year I wrote, In Baltimore Arrests are Down and Crime is Way Up. I worried that a crime wave occasioned in part by a work stoppage could tip into a much higher level of crime:

With luck, the crime wave will subside quickly, but the longer-term fear is that the increase in crime could push arrest and clearance rates down so far that the increase in crime becomes self-fulfilling. The higher crime rate itself generates the lower punishment that supports the higher crime rate…

In the presence of multiple equilibria, it’s possible that a temporary shift could push Baltimore into a permanently higher high-crime equilibrium. Once the high-crime equilibrium is entered, it may be very difficult to exit without a lot of resources that Baltimore doesn’t have.

Writing at FEE, Daniel Bier takes a long look at crime in Baltimore and the history of problems which got us to this point. He notes that the sharp drop in arrests which I discussed was indeed temporary.

But unfortunately:

Tabarrok’s fear that “a temporary shift could push Baltimore into a permanently higher high-crime equilibrium” looks to be borne out. Crime shot up due to temporary factors, but once those factors receded, the police [have] been unable to cope with the new status quo. Baltimore’s vicious crime cycle remains stuck in high gear.

…With 178 killings already in 2016, Baltimore is on track for 294 murders this year — shy of last year’s total of 344 homicides, but well above 2014’s total of 211.

To quote HBO’s The Wire, if Baltimore had New York’s population, it would be clocking nearly four thousand murders a year.

Daniel argues that Baltimore does have the resources to get back on track but at this stage in the game it may not have the will.

In one important respect, Baltimore is worse off than Ferguson, MO. Ferguson had poor policing but an average crime rate. Baltimore has poor policing and a sky high crime rate. Baltimore desperately needs more policing but the police have lost the trust of a vital part of the community and as the Department of Justice’s report on Baltimore brutally illustrates, in some cases rightly so. The DOJ report might provide the impetus for a surge–a large but temporary influx of federal funds for new hiring under a new police administration–that could reestablish a decent equilibrium and reform the department at the same time. Many, however, will decry a federal “takeover” of policing. Ironically, the law and order candidate might be more likely to impose Federal control, albeit it would be less likely to work.

Baltimore is truly stuck between a rock and a hard place.


I usually give Canadians the benefit of the doubt on state abbreviations, but I would think that MI for Michigan is one of the most well-known among our neighbors to the north? We got Canadian TV growing up near Detroit and I think I could accurately list almost all of the provincial abbreviations--I'd be guessing for Nunavut. But to be fair, there are way more US states than provinces.

Now for a more relevant comment: I had a relative married to Baltimore cop for a while. They had actually moved there because Baltimore was one of the only places that was hiring a lot of cops from out of state police training programs at the time (not sure if they are always hiring due to turnover or what). Anyway, the DOJ report didn't totally surprise me, because I had heard stories of some really unprofessional and downright mean stuff the cops did to people, including to prostitutes, only a regular basis. I just kind of figured that is the way cops treat people in a lot of poorer cities. So as bad as the report findings were, I am actually kind of glad the Baltimore seems to be an outlier in how terribly the police oversee the community.

I suspect that in this case it could be a matter of the I and O lying next to each other on a keyboard. If it is a problem in the abbreviation, though, it's more likely due to MissOuri being weird than MIchigan.

Edit: he now fixed it to say MO instead of MI.

There are almost as many us states that begin with M as Canadian provinces. Eight to ten.

From the FEE piece:

"Police have a very difficult job, no question. Cops in ultra-violent cities like Baltimore or Detroit have an even tougher job. Dealing with drunk, obnoxious, and sometimes violent people every single day is hard; doing it without losing your cool or taking shortcuts must be more taxing than most people can appreciate.

But we should not forget that that is the job: catching criminals and upholding the Constitution. It’s not impossible, and it’s not unrealistic. The people of Baltimore expect and deserve an organization that delivers it."

"Taking shortcuts" and not "upholding the Constitution" seem to be increasing problems at all levels of government in the USA.

Baltimore has the 8th largest municipal police force in the U.S. --- they have plenty of cops, equipment and money for the job. But the low quality of those personnel and management results in a dysfunctional & ineffective policing system. Throwing more taxpayer money and more-cop hires into that sorry system is not a solution at all.

The highly visible crime and decay have a base cause... and it ain't lack of cops, cop weapons and jails.The entire governmental system of Baltimore suffers the same malady -- destructive democrat-socialist rule. Nancy Pelosi's father knew all about it.

I live in Baltimore. It is no where near "socialistic" under any meaningful definition of the term.

No, they do not have plenty of cops. New York City's police department and jail service employ 60,000 men to cover problem neighborhoods with a population of 2 million. Baltimore City's problem neighborhoods have a population approaching 500,000.

Nancy Pelosi's father may have been hip deep in graft, but his administration was the last one 'ere the deluge.

...nope, Nancy Pelosi’s brother was also Baltimore Mayor later on.

Still enough time for Nancy to run for mayor too... and fix everything like she did in Congress.

I know that, but the quality of life factors were heading rapidly downward during D'Alessandro III's term of office, and McKeldin's terms as well.

Whether it's unrealistic depends entirely on (1) the amount of resources they are given for the job they're asked to do and (2) the amount of cooperation they receive from the population they're trying to protect. The problem here seems to be (2) - which is a problem, because there's a downward spiral. The worse they do, the less cooperation they will get, as people learn not to trust cops. And the less cooperation they get, the worse they'll do.

I completely agree. Baltimore does need more policing, but better policing, and the current force has enough problems (structural, cultural, and otherwise) that this seems impossible. Smaller cities have completely eliminated their police forces before, but Baltimore City is a unified city-county government (and a much larger force) so this a very difficult problem.

Once cultural rot sits in, it's hard to fix it, and that applies to the Baltimore Police as least as much as the people that they characterize as "criminals, not citizens."

They need better management that uses data to manage policing.

Given stops of white people find illegal drugs and weapons and outstanding warrantservice twice as often as stops of non-white, the Baltimore police need to be ordered to stop twice as many whites and half as many non-whites. The problem is clearly white criminals, so fix the broken windows by targeting whites for aggressive random stops.

And given whites are strong supporters of tough on crime, the whites stopped who are innocent will be totally cooperative and not find the delays and repeated stops to be inconvenient.

A basic understanding of logic would really help you. Let's assume, which I'm sure that you do, that police officers stop black drivers at a lower threshold of suspicion than white drivers. If black and white drivers are equally likely to carry drugs and if suspicion correlates with likelihood to carry drugs then white drivers stopped are more likely to be carrying drugs than black drivers stopped.

Baltimore city and Baltimore county are not unified. They are in fact separate legal entities with separate bureaucracies, public service departments etc. (This is quite distinct from, say, Chicago and Cook County, or Detroit and Wayne County where the city is contained within and part of the county)

Baltimore City is a county with some unusual settlement properties. Local government in Maryland is county government and municipal government is an afterthought. Quite different from how business is done in New York or New Jersey.

There are four local governments in greater Baltimore. The three surrounding Baltimore City include both tract development and exurban swatches. The Washington area has a mess of supplementary municipal authorities, whereas there's only one incorporated municipality in any of the three counties surrounding Baltimore City.

Baltimore tipped a long time ago. It was a big deal when we started having *fewer* than 300 murders per year for a while.

"It’s not impossible, and it’s not unrealistic."

I'm not sure people who don't live here grasp how unrealistic it may be for BPD to reduce crime under the current budget while strictly upholding the Constitution. I had felt for some time that our only option was a federal bailout. But within the past decade hipsters started showing up, gentrifying the place. I remember driving up Charles street about 5 years ago, flabbergasted by the amount of legal commerce that appeared to be taking place. It seemed to be a reversal of the grinding decline that I had witnessed since moving here in the early 90's. We appear now to have a more realistic solution to our problem: displacing our crime to the surrounding counties. This is happening, and it has seemingly nothing to do with anything BPD does, and everything to do with exchanging the citizenry for a more law-abiding one. People who don't live here (and many people who do) don't seem to grasp how fundamentally normative Baltimore's lawlessness is. Anybody seeking to impose respect for other people's right not to be murdered or robbed is regarded by much of the population as a brutal occupying force. What goes on in BPD is a sideshow to the population dynamical shift we're experiencing right now. Hopefully the ambient crime rate won't extinguish it.

Indeed. People don't get what living in a city that is 66% black is like. Even DC isn't that bad, and they have lots of FEDbucks sloshing through the place to make it all go down well.

Section 8-ing blacks out into the suburbs and ruining the neighborhoods of the white middle class that fled does appear to be the new strategy.

"It shouldn’t be. But if police in Baltimore find it impossible to do their jobs while being criticized, or filmed, or investigated, they’re in the wrong profession. The union’s paper-thin pretext that cops are afraid of being randomly indicted for legal arrests has no basis in fact, but it reveals the level of absolute discretion that the union wants in exchange for protecting citizens.

Police have a very difficult job, no question. Cops in ultra-violent cities like Baltimore or Detroit have an even tougher job. Dealing with drunk, obnoxious, and sometimes violent people every single day is hard; doing it without losing your cool or taking shortcuts must be more taxing than most people can appreciate.

But we should not forget that that is the job: catching criminals and upholding the Constitution. It’s not impossible, and it’s not unrealistic. The people of Baltimore expect and deserve an organization that delivers it."

What the fuck does this pencil neck blogger know about dealing with the underclass? I've known a Baltimore cop, and I know the Baltimore underclass, there is no velvet glove solution.

15% of Baltimore's force quit in the year after Freddie Grey. They've always had trouble recruiting. Who the fuck is going to put up with that kind of bullshit for five figures and a pension account with a bankrupt city? You can't force cops to work, offer them a bad deal and people don't sign up.

Libertarians need to understand that -2SD blacks just don't behave in a civilized manner, especially when you get a bunch of them together in the same space. It's time to stop trying to put yourself in their shoes. They aren't even remotely like you. They don't think like you. They don't behave like you. They share none of your values and they aren't going to contribute towards the kind of society you want to build.

Sigh. Your tone makes me very uneasy, but I'll assume that I'm just reading more into it than you intend.

Race is our other perennial sideshow. My opinion is that its primary effect here and now is to obstruct efficacious policy by deflecting culpability from the tiny minority of the population here which is actually violently criminal because they happen to be the same race as our majority population. More to the point, I think the race card is played here far too often to the benefit of violent criminals.

It is sad to see that America's political system has become so dysfunctional and the populace so scared that Americans now feel the temptation of treating their own brothers and sisters' communities as occupied land. In the absence of open and honest dialogue and a sincere desire to achieve a fair peace, only terror is left as a instrument both for the occupying forces and the occupied populations. I really hope that one day the American nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

Your glass house is shattering, Thiago.

The people who live in Baltimore - or Detroit, or Chicago - are in no way my "brothers and sisters communities." In my community we understand the concept of personal responsibility and we have an actual work ethic. Those two things are a major part of the fabric of American success. They are absent in the inner city. It is also the fault of the people who live in the inner city. They've chosen their "leaders" and they're simply reaping what Lyndon Johnson, his Great Society program, and generations of Democrats have helped them sow.

All men are indeed created equal. The problem is what they do with that gift of equality after their creation.

> Libertarians need to understand that -2SD blacks just don’t behave in a civilized manner, especially when you get a bunch of them together in the same space. It’s time to stop trying to put yourself in their shoes. They aren’t even remotely like you. They don’t think like you. They don’t behave like you. They share none of your values and they aren’t going to contribute towards the kind of society you want to build.

Despite the delivery of this point, and despite myself being a libertarian, there is some merit here. In a way when we look at areas with less socioeconomic advancement, we are looking back in time. There is a reason why libertarianism or liberalism did not emerge in middle ages, transaction costs are simply too high in those environments. You have to use conservatism. In fact most american black are conservative, not in an american republican sense, but in Haidts moral foundation sense. The same way Islamist are conservative. They evaluate social situations along all six moral foundations, instead of the three liberals use and the two libertarians use.

Go watch the walking dead and explore the social situations there, how long would a libertarian or liberal last in those? The only thing that keeps you alive is tried and true conservative tribalism.

We should not make it about race. It isn't. I ride the Metro most days through the heart of West Baltimore. Every now and then one of those black passengers, going to work like me (but often at a lower paying job), from that area strikes up a conversation with me. They're decent folk who unfortunately are trapped in a bad area. They are disgusted by the criminals in their midst but are leery of the police too. (Little reported on fact: it was the people of West Baltimore who stopped the rioting in their area last year-- forming a human wall around the rioters and also between them and the cops-- and ultimately turning the whole thing into a giant, if somewhat bizarre and tense, street party).
Moreover in my own neighborhood I see white problem-folk too: strung-out bums, ghetto-wanna-bes, shiftless baby daddies, drug pushers, guys I would not care to meet in a dark alley alone. My worst experience in the city happened when two white toughs invaded my home at 2am with a sawed-off shotgun looking for money. (I sent them off with nothing- never mind how. Oh, and the cops, once called, were there before I was done talking to the 911 operator-- there are good cops in Baltimore too!)
Turning this into racism 101 just strands us in the perennial quagmire of American politics where nothing will ever be accomplished. I have no pat answers to Baltimore's woes, though certainly the city government needs to have the fear of God put into it and we need more people like the 300 Men March and others who stopped the rioting last year.

Just to be clear, I did not say race was causing this. There are factors that correlate, such as race and geography, but correlation is not causation.

> In a way when we look at areas with less socioeconomic advancement,

Here I mentioned geography. These are pockets of people in inner cities who have been left behind. I have not spoken as to why they have been left behind, and I certainly have not said they are behind because of their race.


We aren't created equal. Maybe in a "we all have souls and are loved by God sense", but not in the functional sense of the level of civilized behavior we are capable of.

Sentiment won't change this simple biological fact. Even if your goal was to help these people out of a sense of empathy, living in a pretend world isn't going to bring that about. What has the liberal attitude actually achieved in Baltimore? 1990s crime rates. Who the fuck cares whether you talk about these people in a nice manner, that isn't putting fathers in households or bullets out of teenagers chests.


American blacks aren't conservative. They come from matriarchal honor cultures with low civilizational investment and impulse control. Being a conservative isn't about checking off some box that says your against abortion or don't want to be called a fag. It's about having a pro-community, pro-civilization, pro-family attitude backed by discipline, tradition, and humility. When I think "conservative" I think "Hank Hill", not some GOPe checkbox list. If blacks were conservative, they wouldn't have 70% illegitimacy rates.

Part of the reason NAM cultures seem harsh and backward is that strong authority and harsh punishments are necessary to keep lower orders in line, and in these societies given the genetics that's a majority of the population. You try to apply "liberal" rules and things fly out of control. Liberty is something only disciplined people buttressed by culture and genes can achieve. What we are finding is that certain people don't really make the cutoff for liberty, and the more of them you have in your society the less liberty you end up having in the long run.

Sure, after enslaving them for so long (no wonder their IQ is low then?!...) , now put them in prison. White people always have a solution ;)

Enslavement some how leads to generations of low IQ? What is the mechanism?

Well, it is good to know God loves the irredeemable savages He created too, I guess.
Let me tell you something you kids, with your Trumps and Terminators, don't seem to get. Violence is not the answer for every problem. After a hard, long, bitter war we never wanted and that cost up to 90% of the male enemy population, we could have resorted to terror as a way to rule, we could have given in to resentment and justified hatred, but instead we decided to forgive, we gave peace a chance, we chose to cooperate with the local population and educate it for self-rule. In doing so, we achieved success: we not only created modern Paraguay, but we also created modern Brazil. We learned that yesterday's bitter foe can be today's good friend. We learned that peace is the answer.

Thanks for the sappy sentiment. Short on solutions and results though.

Peace is the answer to what? Likely to achieve what? Has a track record of achieving what? What the fuck do you even mean by "peace"? How does "peace" apply to underclass black crime in Baltimore? Is there any substance to your vaguely optimistic platitudes.

How does "peace" apply to underclass Black crime in Baltimore? Hopefully, better than it applies to a conquered foreign population that spent six years waging total war against you.

"We learned that yesterday’s bitter foe can be today’s good friend."

For the record, a large majority of the violent crime in Baltimore is intra-ethnic.

Yes, sure, but I was thinking state vs communities or police vs distrutful citizens.

Racist claptrap. You add nothing of value to this conversation. (See my comment above. I live in this city, and know it better than you.)

> Being a conservative isn’t about checking off some box that says your against abortion or don’t want to be called a fag.

This is exactly the type of response I preempted with clarification. Perhaps you did not read me clearly enough. I referenced Haidt and Moral Foundation theory in my definition of conservative: Haidt has been covered on this blog.

Whates stopped in Baltimore are twice as likely to be arrested, so your assumptions that white areas are low crime is only because of bad policing in suburbs by not randomly stopping enough white people.

Again, very poor reasoning. The reality is that stops of white people are more fruitful because the police are more accurate with those stops because racism.

Some parts of Baltimore have gentrified-- and the miles-long Charles Street corridor is definitely one of them as apart from a few blocks up around North Ave there's very little seedy to be seen anywhere on that road. But other parts of Baltimore are resisting gentrification. I would sooner expect the sun to rise in the west than to someday traverse North Ave and find the whole length of it as pleasant as Charles is. My own neighborhood-- Pigtown-- has been touted as the next gentrifying neighborhood for the eight years I've been here. It's got great location-- close to the U of MD hospital complex, downtown, the Harbor, the stadiums, the über-yuppiedom of Fed Hill and with great freeway access and low housing costs. And yet: while my corner of it is OK (I have great neighbors) parts of it are still full of crime, decaying, abandoned houses and heaping mounds of litter and garbage. Heck, we had a derelict house collapse down the block in wind storm back in April, one of several such around the city.

* Named for the fact that in the 1800s herds of pugs were driven though the area to the slaughterhouses located where Camden Yards stands now-- it is not a comment on the current residents!

The gentrification process seems to me determined very predictably by adjacency to existing safe neighborhoods. It is an expanding green zone. Locust Point is an obvious example of a neighborhood with great fundamentals. Pigtown has a lot of good going for it, but it also suffers from what's directly adjacent to it every direction but East. The next obvious target (aside from the continued expansion of Fells Point and Remington) seems to me to be Reservoir Hill. I might end up being surprised, but I would bet that Pigtown turns around decisively after Bolton Hill expands south and west. That could take a while.

Pigtown needs a rebranded name to start ;)

I *love* Pigtown's name! Besides, they tried that already. They tried calling it "Washington Village." Somehow that sounds both less quaint and more... made up.

What about Bay of Pigs? Is there a bay nearby?

They tried to rename it "Washington Village" after the main road through it but the residents hated the idea. The neighborhood has embraced the name: there are murals of pigs on some buildings and early in fall there's a Pigtown Festival which features (among other things) a piglet race.

"The powwice have wast the twust of the commuuunity"

This reckless rhetoric is killing people across the country and it's obvious that its purveyors don't expect ever to be held to account for it.

Anyone here respect the FBI more after the Comey fiasco?

The Rule of Law is about those making the laws living by them. Maybe Democrat cities like Baltimore are a reflection of the Democrat governance.

The solution is clear. When Obama Almighty steps down from the presidency he should run for mayor of Baltimore and bring his healing skills to a city so in need of them.

I agree. Tragically, the messiah can't redeem every city. Rumor is that his salvific abilities will remove themselves to Chicago. IL and thence work their magic: bringing forth Heaven-on-Earth.

Three questions: One, Can Baltimore be saved? Two, Who cares? Three, Why do decades of Democrat hegemony invariably bring about mass, municipal destruction?

I don't blame you for not knowing this, but actually the messianic almighty of Baltimore is Kevin Plank. Before you start to worry--stop! He is a businessman, billionaire, and Republican. Buy-in to his vision, won't you, now that your biases have been massaged.

So if he does clean up Baltimore i assume we then get to hear about how evil R's just want to gentrify poor communities for their own evil money making? Id like that bias massaged too, please.

As far as I can tell, the people of Baltimore mostly like the guy. They will truly love him if he pulls this off and transforms the city. Point is Baltimore's problems are deep, systemic, ingrained--the "messiah" role has been played by people of all political stripes and it always fails. It will in this case too. Back to parlor, buddy boy.

MOFO, according to the Bloomberg article, the racist and greed allegations are already flowing.

I suppose if Plank "donates" enough and hires enough politician children, he can make it work.

That would be taking a play from Trump's book.

It will be interesting to see if Plank's port-side development improves things in Westport, a mostly white slum where I would hesitate to set foot after dark.

The sad thing is that this "joke" springs from self pity, that the only solution must come from the successful enemy.

Nah, Obama should start a health insurance company.

That may work for him. He's already kicked the crap out of his competition.

It would seem the BPD has been wasting resources on racist harassment (some of which results in petty arrests). Perhaps if they focused on fighting serious crime they would do a better job.

Baltimore needs more of that magic dirt you guys are fond of discussing. Maybe they should go to a low crime area, like the nearby college campus, dig up the dirt and truck it into the city. Once exposed to the dirt, the natives will blossom into libertarian economists and take up positions at the university. After all, we have proof of this. When they moved people from St. Louis to Ferguson MO, they did really well until the racists came in and used their dark magic to cancel the effects of the magic dirt.

So, the plan for Baltimore:

1) Remove racists

2) Bring in magic dirt

3) Baltimore becomes Hong Kong on the Chesapeake

Change 2): Bring in Magic Obama.

Baltimore is doing just fine. The voters there voted the way they did, and they are getting what they deserve. What I do not want is to spend my own money to "rebuild the destroyed communities" (the plea: "your honor, it is true that I killed my parents, but please keep in mind that I'm an orphan" comes to mind).

As a famous Baltimorian once said:

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."


Bad policing is a side effect of a difficult neighborhood. When you have a lot of dangerous people, it is easier to pounce on the more minor criminal. This makes it look like you are doing something to your boss and you are not confronting someone who is really prepared for a fight.

The solution IMO is to take the best of both schools of thought. Do 'broken windows' but combine it with community policing and professionalism. That will achieve real results.

Broken windows policing seems to be going in where a few windows are broken and systematically breaking all the rest of the windows.

So what? It helps the economy.

Actually Baltimore had good policing until the mayor, DA and judges began to tie the hands of the police in racial dispariities claims. If you as a policeman are punished for arresting a black criminal and the only justification to this is that more blacks are arrested than whites why would you arrest black criminals? Let them commit crime. Let the situation continue to spiral down into hell until the leadership either smartens up or is changed. What other choice is there. Law abiding citizens beware, your mayor, DA and the DOJ do not want to protect you.

Again, the place hasn't been all that safe in two generations.

Yes, the bloody judiciary and the har-de-har public interest bar are intolerable.

Baltimore: pop. 621k, area 81 sq. miles, 3100 police officers
Boston: pop. 670k, area 48 sq miles, 2100 police officers

Seems like Baltimore already has enough officers.

Initial conditions matter. I often criticize Alex but he's completely right here.

If you have a low crime rate, you can afford to investigate every home break-in, and everyone knows it. If you have a high crime rate, you can't afford to, and everyone knows it.

Crime is pernicious. You can't necessarily back off on crime-prevention measures and then turn them back up if crime rises in response.

No. Given staffing in New York, about 10,000 officers deployed in Baltimore City would allow for similar coverage. New York has a much higher share of the metropolitan settlement and the slum districts and points adjacent are perhaps a quarter of what's within city limits. In Baltimore, the bulk of the city is slum or its sketchy areas adjacent to slums.

53 straight years of Democrat Mayors in Baltimore.

Fear not though -- I'm sure the next Dem will straighten everything out.

The last Republican city council member in Baltimore left office in 1942.

And the city hasent recovered since.

Half a year of Republican Governor Hogan, and Baltimore's Red Line project that's been in the works for over 10 years is cancelled, and funds are diverted to improving roads in middle-of-no-where Maryland.

Not saying that Democrats aren't to blame for mismanagement, but arguing that placing Republicans in office will fix city is equally implausible.

Maybe the Red Line was not a good project. After all, Baltimore politicians proposed it.

No one is suggesting a few GOPers in city office will "fix" Baltimore, just that the one party has destroyed the city all by itself.

Baltimore is so black at this point I think the Governors strategy is to simply abandon it. White people in the suburbs elected him, and so he's putting money to work for white people. Given that white people paid all of the taxes anyway, it makes sense to give back to them.

The only part of Maryland which might be described as 'middle of nowhere' is Garrett County. About 30,000 people live in Garret County. He's not spending masses of dough in Garrett County.

I-68 connects Garrett County to Morgantown WV and to points further east. It isn't isolated though it is extremely rural.

Ohio has had an R gov in there for a while now. Must be doing great, eh?

I thought we were talking city government.

"state’s gritty urban centers, such as Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo — all ranked among the nation’s most economically distressed big cities. "

All Democrat controlled. Hmm. A trend?

Democrats control Vermont too.

The city of Cleveland has about 350k population while the MSA is around 2.5 million. Anyone able to move to the suburbs has.

Getting your direction right on arrows of causation is really important. Though not at all important for those who want to do partisan political battle.

Your can't run for office if you don't live in the district.

White people moved out to areas where black people were kept out. But white people never stopped driving into the city to buy sex, drugs, and break windows, and then leave.

In the west of Breaking Bad inspiration, it was and is whites cooking meth, not blacks and browns, but for some reason the solution was not to stop every white person and arrest them for minor crimes so there was reason to search their car, home, and such.

I heard of a non-white girl taunted and bullied to the point of tears trying to walk away from the bullies stopped by the police officer in the school and ordered to stop crying, and when she didn't, she was pepper sprayed. Maybe at the limit of the way non-white kids are treated in schools, but imagine that happening to a white girl in a white school.

I'm reminded of a girl who was raped by a rapist who invaded and got her sleeping. The police assumed she was lying and when she insisted, they ended up badgering her and then prosecuting her for false statements. A few years later, the rapist was caught, with his pictures of her tied up as she reported. But the police suspected her, the victim, because she was poor, on welfare, had grown up mostly in foster care in unstable living conditions, treated with drugs from age 8 to calm her fears from her unstable childhood.

The thing is, when white police so obviously screw up dealing with a white crime victim, they are embarrassed, made an effort to clear her record and repay the fine she had to pay when the police victimized her, and changed the training and policies of the police department, and quickly paid her $150,000 to settle all tort actions against the police. But when the victims of policing are not white, well, it's still the fault of the non-whites, not the fault of the police.

The bullied crying non-white girl is still blamed, not the policing or school policy of giving police no training or guidance and the policy of pepper spraying non-white kids. Pepper spray is not used on white students in white schools in the same area.

Mulp, You're kidding, right! Yeah police make a lot of mistakes. They make them with white perps and people of color. If you buy into the whole BLM meme that these persp were just kids doing nothiing and the mean old white cop shot them well I won't be able to change your mind. For whatever reason blacks commit rapes and murders at aboth 8-10 times the rate of whites and about 2 times the rate of hispanics. The white policeman didn't make them do it. The police tend to patrol more in neighborhoods with more crime. If blacks commit 8-10 times more crime than whites well black neighborhoods will tend to have more crime. If you observe black criminals when they are confronted by the police you will discover that they fight and shoot at about 10 times the rate of white criminals. Again that isn't the fault of the cops but once you realize this it becomes easier to understand why cops have to use more force more often with black perps.

Is it impossible for you to imagine a scenario where the problems in Baltimore, or any city, don't have to do with its mayor's political party? So 9 of the country's 10 poorest states continue to be poor because they are governed by Republicans, right?

Im not going to go all in on this line of thinking, but you have to admit that the government of an area is only partially responsible for the health of its economy, but is pretty much fully responsible for the behavior of its employees. I mean if the government of Baltimore isnt responsible for the failings of its police force, who is?

Also, you should read that link a bit more carefully, the link identifies a state as red based on how it voted in the last presidential election, not based on who governed it, although im not sure it would make much difference. Also, the part where they adjust for cost of living seems relevant.

Most of those are Southern states. Southern states have generally been the poorest since 1776.

Baltimore was not always like 1945 Berlin.

In 1950, Baltimore accounted for 40% of the population of Maryland. Today it's barely 11%.

Baltimore was significantly richer than the nation as a whole in the 1950s with a median family income around 10% higher than the national average.

Then William Schaefer decided to run the city as his own private fiefdom in the 1970s through the late 1980s and just destroyed the place. He directed tens of millions of dollars to his cronies and took what had been an orderly decline of the city and turned it into a total collapse.

The place was already a hole when Mayor Schaefer was elected. Blame Thomas d'Alessandro III and Theodore McKeldin. Schaefer managed a certain stasis and the city was safer during his tenure than it is today. It went downhill under his successor Kurt 'It's Out of Our Control' Schmoke.

Baltimore accounted for about 30% of Maryland's population in 1950. Greater Baltimore has experienced considerable suburban development and 70% of the dense settlement lives outside city limits. The thing to do is to federate the four swatches of dense settlement and have a two-tier government with a division of labor between the whole and the components. Have the Baltimore City council concern itself with zoning, trash pickup, sewerage and drainage, street repair, and parks. Have a metropolitan authority concern itself with the transit authority, the police, and the child protective apparat. Turn the schools over to voucher funded philanthropies.

@Art Deco -

You really think Baltimore's suburbs are safer because they have more and tougher policing? Do you think "Law & Order" is based on actual criminal cases?

If I lived in a Baltimore suburb, I'd have a real problem with turning over vital infrastructure maintenance to a, ahem, "Democratic" city council.

1776? I think Southern poverty mostly dates from 1865.

If I lived in a Baltimore suburb, I’d have a real problem with turning over vital infrastructure maintenance to a, ahem, “Democratic” city council.

One of the crew rattling on about IQ shows us his excellent reading comprehension. For your edification, a 'federation' is an association of components which retain distinct features, such as certain municipal functions.

"However, the Census Bureau's "supplemental poverty measure" tries to adjust for some of the geographical cost differences. So while, under the bureau's standard poverty measure nine of the 10 poorest states are Red, the latest Supplemental Poverty Measure changes that ranking significantly.

Mississippi, New Mexico, South Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee fall from the list, replaced by California (the poorest), Nevada, Florida, New York, and Hawaii, which were all Blue states in the 2012 race. (Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas -- all Red states -- make the list either way.)"

Jan, did you see that:
"California (the poorest)"

Seattle is more lefty-loon than Detroit. The problem isn't politics, funding, or anything else. It's the people who live there.

It's not just a simple matter of Democrat Bad, Republican Good!

It's the lack of legitimate political competition. If one party controls everything forever, it allows the creation of a patronage state.

Political competition is vital for battling back the tide of cronyism.

Knee-jerk, partisan idiocy also adds nothing to the discussion. Every major city in the US is dominated by the Democrats (because Republicans these hate cities and with rare exceptions want nothing to do with them). There's no pattern to be found there.

Well the centralized, highly regulated, government controlled policy has failed; and for familiar reasons: inefficient allocation and misallocation of resources.

There is an important distinction here, courts and policing work after the fact, they are a classic case of a public goods. Crime prevention is different, it is a market investment and works before the fact, it does not have to be a public good as it is excludable and rivalrous. Maybe its time to deregulate crime prevention and lets markets do their thing. Among other things that would require liberalizing gun ownership in Baltimore, so I doubt the economists of this blog would advocate that.

So you're saying is that if the residents of the bad neighborhoods had access to more guns, there would be less crime?

If the LAW ABIDING residents of the bad neighborhoods had access to more guns, there would be less crime.

But police consider all non-whites to be suspects, and if armed, out to kill police.

You are making the Black Panthers for Self-defence argument. What did California Republicans and Gov Reagan do in reaction to blacks lawfully carrying guns to protect the black community. What was the Republican view of the Black Panthers? Did they see them as Patriots defending themselves using their second amendment rights?

Why don't Republicans and conservatives call for black communities like Baltimore and Chicago organize Black Panthers for Self-defense groups, with conservatives going to court to make sure their second amendment rights are fully defended?

Why isn't the NRA focused on outreach and creating NRA groups in black and brown communities to make sure the NRA membership will be majority non-white by 2030 to reflect America?

When the two guys who made a sign saying New Black Panthers and carrying bats, were they scary because they were not carrying AK-47s with 50 round clips? Bat equals thug, AK-47 equals patriot?

There's a lot of red herrings in there. I don't disagree with a lot of it, and I have my criticisms of the NRA, LaPiere needs to go IMHO. Lots of gun owners on twitter got pissed at the NRAs muted response to Castiles death, blaming video games for sandy hook just hurts their relevancy amongst millennial gun owners. But criticizing the NRA or republicans does not change the fact that firearms are an economic good that can secure property rights from an economic standpoint and thus prevent crime.

Guns are a security good like any other. If they had more investment in locks, cameras, ADT and yes guns too. Look at it this way, if you removed guns from police in Baltimore would that make them more or less effective?

Home invasions while the owner is home (hot burglaries) are very rare in the US, though it happens more in place with tight gun control and much more frequently in Europe and the UK. These burglaries are when the homeowner and family are likely to be tied up, sexually assaulted, killed and killed.

In places where homeowners have guns these are a rare event. Lots of evidence, even prison interviews show that criminals realize that robbing a place when the owner is home is "A good way to get shot", so they wait until the owner is gone. It also works with store robberies.


"By comparing criminal victimization surveys from Britain and the Netherlands (countries having low levels of gun ownership) with the U.S., Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck determined that if the U.S. were to have similar rates of "hot" burglaries as these other nations, there would be more than 450,000 additional burglaries per year where the victim was threatened or assaulted. (Britain and the Netherlands have a "hot" burglary rate near 45% versus just under 13% for the U.S., and in the U.S. a victim is threatened or attacked 30% of the time during a "hot" burglary.)"

That would be one way to do away with the waste of resources that is the war on drugs. Assuming that others don't take the "free market" upon themselves to hire some thugs and throw in a cage anyone who they feel like, or any such thing.

That having been said, I think there are ways to address that other misallocation of resources without causes as many hiccups, where by hiccups I mean chaos.

I've always assumed that areas with high murder rates are areas where murder is held to be necessary to resolve disputes by the local gangsters. Once such a standard is set up, it's hard to ratchet down from, but not every tough neighborhood has such a rough standard in resolving disputes. Something needs to be done to change the rules of the game, so to speak. People inside the area see the rules as a framework already in place and imposed. That outsiders don't get it is irrelevant.

The problem is that many if not most of the murders in cities like Baltimore aren't drug related or the result of gang feuds. The Baltimore Sun ran a story last year where they did follow up stories of all the victims murdered in a particular month. People were getting killed over petty disputes, one guy was killed over a $3 debt.

That's a good point. However, I was trying to say that the gangster's ethos can effect the entire neighborhood. So that, what seem like petty disputes, still need to be handled by the gangster's rules. But your point does make me pause.

Interesting. I'm reminded of an article about the mayor of New Orleans who visits death row from time to time trying to find out why his citizens are killing each other. After a few anecdotes, an explanation by a prisoner seemed to capture it all: kids these days can't take a punch. That is, petty offenses give rise to extreme face-saving responses. I don't know if that necessarily means gangster's rules apply as Donald Pretari argues, but there is certainly a social dynamic in play.

Even if I'm not a gangster, once a confrontation begins, I'm concerned about how far the other guy might go. And if I'm in a neighborhood where lethal violence is common, any confrontation contains a reasonable concern that the other guy might kill me. And once I'm afraid the other guy might kill me, maybe I should go first. The threshold for rational self-defense can get really low in the wrong place.

Thank you Ed, PD Shaw, and Cyrus fir your comments.

"The DOJ report might provide the impetus for a surge–a large but temporary influx of federal funds for new hiring under a new police administration"

i'll bet everything i own the hiring standards will be "vibrant diversity"

Baltimore police are already majority black.

Baltimore PD is not majority black, it is majority minority though.

So model what you expect police response to be in much higher crime districts with much higher violent crime rates with populations that have little to no respect for police. How exactly are they supposed to police an extremely violent subgroup? Who's fault is it primarily if unwarranted interventions against innocent members of the sub-group occur - the police's fault or the members of highly violent subgroup? This is a common fault attribution fallacy when discussing this issue.

The discussion should be about effectiveness, within legal limits. It's not a philosophy class.

Blaming the wrong people for externalities caused by effective policing is what makes action ineffective.

There sure is an awful lot of missing the point going on in this thread.

Racial demographics is one of those areas where you'd get better analysis by talking to the economists' wives and their realtors rather than to the economists.

Baltimore is the case of damned if you do, damned if you don't. When O'Malley ran for mayor he explicitly ran on a get tough on crime platform. He won, implemented broken windows, violent crime drops and on the strength of that he runs for governor and wins. Fast forward to today he's being pummeled for ushering policies that harassed blacks and beyond maybe a cabinet post has little future in Dem electoral politics.

Why would any modern Dem even bother best course is to just let crime fester and contained to black areas.

O'Malley accomplished not a blessed thing. If anything, Baltimore was marginally safer under Sheila Crook Dixon.

The homicide rate in Baltimore during the period running from 2002 through 2007 bounced around a set point of 42 per 100,000. It was about the same ca. 1997. It was actually lower (around 27 per 100,000) ca. 1982. Around about 1980, Baltimore and New York had similar homicide rates. In 2010, Baltimore's exceeded New York's by a factor of 8.

On Twitter, Marginal Revolution has a good reputation, with the caveat "never read the comments." Today is kind of a lesson why.

Don't listen to what economists say. Look at where they live, who their friends are, and what schools their kids go to.

Step 1: Stop listening to soi-disant libertarians and 'civil libertarians', especially dishonest ones who run disreputable and discreditable memes on continuous loop.

Step 2: Start listening to Wm. Bratton.

Step 3: Hire more cops, or, better yet, create a metropolitan force which answers to the county executive or (in Maryland) to the governor. Leave the Sheriff to police the exurban, rural, and small town areas. Deploy optimally then hire more

Of course, Baltimore, with slum homicide rates of 45 per 100,000, was never on track to begin with. The South Bronx pre-de Blasio had homicide rates of 8.5 per 100,000. That is on track.

In other words, tax non-Baltimoreans who have the sense to flee urban criminality and corruption to police net tax consuming Baltimoreans who can't control their impulses.

If I were to follow the logic of your complaint, I'd suggest disbanding the police force in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County and telling people to fend for themselves. Shouldn't tax Anti-Gnostic because granny ain't to good with a gun. That's her problem.

The main difference between most people in Towson, most people in Charles Village or Waverly (back in the day) and most people a mile south of Charles Village and Waverly is that there's a proportionately larger population of troublesome young men a mile south harrying their neighbors. The people living in Towson are just a few miles away on the other side of a political boundary whose presence where it is is purely conventional, historical, and accidental. They're not on the other side of the moon.

The main difference between most people in Towson, most people in Charles Village or Waverly (back in the day) and most people a mile south of Charles Village and Waverly is that there’s a proportionately larger population of troublesome young men a mile south harrying their neighbors.

LOL. The main difference between Towson and Baltimore is Towson is 77% white and Baltimore is 63% black. Median age for both places is 34 - 35. Like I say, realtors, law enforcement, and academics' wives are all better informed on such issues than academics.

No, the main difference is that one locus has large numbers of difficult young men and one has small numbers of difficult young men. The former has a large ass of tertiary sector workers (fairly impecunious) and the latter has a more variegated populations. The problems of the latter can be addressed but...

1. You have to want to address them; and

2. Have some more elevated object than rubbing someone's nose in it.

3. Which object you do not have.

You're chasing your tail. Why are the young men in one location violent at six or more times the rate at young men in another location? Magic dirt?

A confounding factor here: marijuana offenses are no longer arrestable in Maryland. So that's a reason for a decline in arrests that has nothing to do with police behavior, only a change in the laws.

Another factor: as police abuses have been given high attention, low income minority residents have taken to calling the police less often for relatively minor crimes. That could feed into a crime increase of course if criminals see their chances of getting with something improve-- though that should mainly play into an increase in minor crimes not major ones, like murder, rape etc where the police will still be summoned.

Perhaps the East St. Louis solution would work in Baltimore. It's basically the "Escape From New York" scenario. East StL is a no-man's land of hyper-violence and has been for decades. It is far scarier than Baltimore or Detroit or Chicago and yet they don't have the policing problems referenced here. Why not? Because by tacit agreement local officials have agreed to let it return to a near-Hobbsian state and the unmentionable but welcome result is that it is dying.

You can get away with that thousands of miles from the coasts. Hard to do when Baltimore is a 45 minute drive from DC and a 3 hour train ride from NYC. The media would have a field day already the Washington Post runs 2 or 3 long articles a month on Baltimore. NYT has a full time reporter there.

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