Members in the Media
From: The Washington Post

A new federal report discusses an unexpected theory for why murders are rising in U.S. cities

The Washington Post:

More people were murdered in large U.S. cities last year than in 2014 — the first substantial increase in homicides in a quarter-century, after years of improving safety on American streets — and criminologists still are not sure why. There has been a fierce debate about the causes of the violence, but one possible explanation has not received enough public attention so far, according to the the author of a report published Wednesday by the Justice Department.

The theory — one of several that criminologist Richard Rosenfeld presents in the paper — suggests that, after a number of widely discussed law-enforcement killings of young black men during the past couple of years, residents of predominately black and disadvantaged urban neighborhoods further lost confidence in the police.

Still, “a subtle shift in the perception of law enforcement, if the city is large enough, can lead to what looks like a significant increase in the body count,” said Phillip Atiba Goff, a psychologist at UCLA. “It happens very quickly.”

Read the whole story: The Washington Post

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As a psychologist who is forced to work in the field of criminology because my research is on serial and unsolved homicides, I’ve had to hear most things Richard Rosenfeld has to say. That black males commit most homicides is just about IT, as far as criminologists are concerned. They cannot explain changes, do not include history, empirical psychology, studies of aggression or most of the past 30 years of research in the behavioral sciences. Look at the articles in Homicide Studies, and you’ll find how prevalent this mind-set is. I call it the “Wolfgang Paradigm” because it is the world view of Marvin Wolfgang, upon whose exemplar, untested theory, and trust in arrest statistics, they build their work. Serial murderers are even disproportionately black, according to one article in Homicide Studies, and when they were always regarded as white, suddenly race was obscure. The main point I want to make is that we cannot say who commits the majority of homicides because the large urban areas that criminologists study often have 75% if their homicides UNSOLVED. Thomas Hargrove’s Murder Accountability Project collected data on 211,000 unsolved homicides since 1980! Nowadays, many unsolved murders include either serial murders or their characteristics–lack of relationships or identifiable motives. Criminologists IMPUTE the characteristics of many of the unsolved homicides because otherwise, the “subgroup demographics” would not be the same. What a shame that would be! (Imputation methods vary, but some use the victims’ characteristics or the characteristics of solved murders, victims or killers, which are easy to solve and quite different from stranger homicides. This is an American problem, not one of subgroups demographics. Whites are quite capable of killing, as all of American history shows (e.g. Graham & Gurr, 1969).

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