John Leo
"De-policing" occurs after riots and demonstrations against police behavior. Shell-shocked or resentful, police overlook a lot of suspicious behavior. They stop trying to prevent low-level crime and simply react to 911 calls. Crime soars.

This happened in some New York City neighborhoods after the Amadou Daillo shooting, and in Seattle after the World Trade Organization riots and the Mardi Gras riots. In fact it happened during the Mardi Gras chaos. Many officers became bystanders as the rioting spread. A Seattle cop explained de-policing: "Parking under a shady tree to work on a crossword puzzle is a great alternative to being labeled a racist and being dragged through an inquest, a review board, an FBI and U.S. attorney investigation and a lawsuit."

Now "de-policing" has hit Cincinnati. Since the April riots, set off by the police shooting of an unarmed black man, arrests have dropped 50 percent. Shootings are way up -- 59 incidents and 77 gunshot victims, compared with nine incidents and 11 victims in the same three months last year. Traffic stops are down 55 percent, presumably because almost any stop of a black driver by a white cop might be cited as racial profiling. Crime is up partly because criminals are less fearful of cops. They know all about "de-policing."

The riots hit the city hard. Convention business is down. The white exodus from the city has spread to cops. Large numbers of officers have applied for jobs in the suburbs. But the city's biggest problem is that elite commentators have defined the city as hopelessly racist. (Cincinnati is "the belly of the beast" of police violence against blacks, said Kweisi Mfume of the NAACP. It is "a model of racial unfairness," said Time magazine.)

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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