A few days ago, I blogged about Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief Charlie Beck's specious claim that a short-term drop in domestic violence cases involving Hispanics was proof of the chilling effect of immigration enforcement efforts on local policing.
It was such an obvious case of cherry-picking statistical data that no serious observer of either policing or immigration enforcement could possibly take it seriously; it's clear that Beck's purpose was political, not an expression of interest in effective community policing. And, of course, he achieved that purpose by generating lots of publicity at a time when many Americans are starting to wake up to the dangers of sanctuary city policies in various parts of the country, including Los Angeles. Beck was engaged in a pushback effort to try to stave off the very real possibility that LAPD is going to lose federal funds as a result of its noncooperation policies.
The new administration's seriousness about defunding sanctuaries is something Beck's boss, Mayor Eric Garcetti, is beginning to understand as well. Coming out of a recent meeting with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly that no doubt involved a great deal of discussion about cooperation (or lack thereof) with federal immigration enforcement efforts, Garcetti made the incredible claim that LAPD had a great track record on such cooperation. I use the word "incredible" here in its most literal sense: not credible. The assertion is in fact laughable. Interesting, too, isn't it, that Beck somehow got out of sync with Garcetti in the span of one meeting with the DHS secretary? Compare this new-and-improved version of Garcetti with the one exhibiting defiance and bravado just a few short months ago when speaking at a school district meeting.
But to revert back to Charlie Beck and crime statistics, the Los Angeles Times has recently published an article, "Police arrests are plummeting across California, fueling alarm and questions", which makes clear that arrests are down significantly without regard to victim or perpetrator ethnicity, in virtually all areas of crime. What's more, it's a trend that began in 2013 and has continued since:
In 2013, something changed on the streets of Los Angeles.
Police officers began making fewer arrests. The following year, the Los Angeles Police Department's arrest numbers dipped even lower and continued to fall, dropping by 25% from 2013 to 2015.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the San Diego Police Department also saw significant drops in arrests during that period.
The statewide numbers are just as striking: Police recorded the lowest number of arrests in nearly 50 years, according to the California attorney general's office, with about 1.1 million arrests in 2015 compared with 1.5 million in 2006. . . .
The LAPD could not provide final tallies for arrests in 2016. But based on numbers that include arrests by other agencies within city limits, the downward trend continued last year, Assistant Chief Michel Moore said.
Many experts are attributing the drop to the "Ferguson effect", a catch-all phrase that describes the reluctance of police to engage in interactions that may escalate, and later result in their being arrested or sued or disciplined based on extemporaneous video recordings (often taken by bystanders using smart phones) that may or may not always reflect the full interaction that ultimately leads to death or injury. Scholar and journalist Heather Mac Donald has written extensively about the Ferguson effect in a variety of articles.
Note also that the drop in crime rates generally (or rather, if the "Ferguson effect" is in play, the drop in police choosing to respond to crimes or file the incident reports that would make them an official part of LAPD's statistics) doesn't extend to vehicular homicides, which have soared in 2016. It's worth observing that, in the past, a number of such fatalities have arisen as the result of illegal aliens driving drunk or drugged on the nation's roadways. What good have the city's "sanctuary" safe haven policies done for the victims and surviving family members of such tragedies? Absolutely none.
At any rate, as the four-year timeframe that the crime statistics drop makes manifest, the plummeting numbers began long before the Trump administration breathed new life into DHS's immigration law enforcement efforts. It's abundantly clear that those immigration enforcement efforts have nothing to do with the cherry-picked statistics that Beck previously used to claim that cooperation with federal immigration authorities damages local policing.
It looks to me like Beck has bigger issues to confront than phony assertions about the damage done by immigration enforcement cooperation, if he's truly serious about taking effective measures to safeguard his community while at the same time ensuring that police need not fear to do their jobs properly as long as it's within the boundaries of the law. In fact, contrary to the public bloviating by the likes of Beck and Garcetti, it looks to me like real LAPD cooperation with federal immigration authorities would do the denizens of the city a great deal of good.