The Pandemic, The BLM Movement, and Homicide

If the (global) pandemic were meaningfully driving the homicide surge, we would expect to see this emulated throughout the other countries where all of those same factors apply. We haven't. In fact, what we actually tend to see in Europe - where people are also bored, young men are also out of work, the economy also took a hit, and opportunities for legally making money also shrunk - was a decrease in homicide, a decrease in knife crime as well as gun crime, and the pandemic given as an explanation for the decline in violence

Moreover, any close analysis shows that the homicide surge did not coincide with the first couple months of lockdown, but rather happened exactly when the #BLM rioting, anti-police campaigning, and inflammatory racial provocations started to dominate the national zeitgeist in the last week of May. Hon. Paul Cassel supplies graphs in the linked article that show the structural break in homicide patterns at the exact same time anarchic riots began breaking out across the nation, policy changes started being made to policing (e.g. disbanding of the NYC anti-crime unit, the Portland gun violence prevention team, etc.), and our media institutions and political organizations began making anti-police, racially inflammatory rhetoric the #1 topic of discussion. See also the graphs here showing how all forms of gun violence went from typical levels to completely out of control at exactly the time #BLM critics would (and did) expect it to

Despite the pandemic being an international, global phenomenon - and the lockdowns being de rigueur throughout the first world - nowhere but the US saw astonishing, historically unprecedented rises in crime, and the US did not see the crime surge until the #BLM 'racial reckoning' in the aftermath of the George Floyd coverage. This massive surge in violence is unprecedented at a national level, but there is an obvious comparison to be made to the last time #BLM dominated the national zeitgeist in 2014-2015 with the anarchic rioting over the deaths of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray. Quoting from an earlier post:

‚ÄčThis massive, destructive surge in violence was not surprising to anyone versed in criminology, as it very closely matched the pattern visible to everyone following the first wave of #BLM rioting and anti-police activism in 2014-2015. Following the false narrative of Michael Brown's shooting and the death in custody of Freddie Gray, violent riots swept St. Louis and Baltimore, respectively, along with the now familiar anti-police animus and calls for diminished police engagement. Directly following these developments, violent crime surged to unprecedented levels - both of the aforementioned swiftly became the two most violent cities in America and among the most violent cities in the world. As with the current wave of #BLM induced crime surges, the starting point was both obvious and empirically demonstrable:

Baltimore Homicides, Rolling Average (red dot = #BLM Gray riots)

Number of Murders and Shootings Per Day, Baltimore

Distressingly, the crime surge was enduring, and the >60% surge in homicides over the previous several years continued well into 2020 - this is an ominous indicator that the trends that #BLM has catalyzed this year may be with us for some time