Barkan Co-authors Column About Crime in BDN

Steven Barkan, a criminologist and professor of sociology at the University of Maine, co-authored a column for the Bangor Daily News that refutes what has been labeled as the “Ferguson effect” — that in response to protests about policing shootings, officers in cities are less proactive, which results in a rise in urban violence. The authors refute the claim, saying crime rates fluctuate, a number of factors account for why crime rates rise and fall, and that crime in some major cities has decreased. “The recent accounts of a ‘Ferguson effect’ are not based on scientific evidence but on nothing more than lazy — at best, nefarious at worst — journalism. They smack of the old tools used to disguise racially charged arguments. In the future, such staunch claims must be backed by science, if they should be made at all,” they wrote. Barkan is a member of the Scholars Strategy Network that addresses public challenges and policy implications.