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University of Utah releases report linking ‘ACLU Effect’ with rise in violent crime in Chicago


Researchers at the University of Utah have reportedly found a link between the number of homicides in Chicago and the end of the controversial “stop-and-frisk” policies that were struck down after an ACLU lawsuit.

The research paper, which was posted on Monday, used an econometric analysis to conclude that the 2016 spike in murders that ravaged Chicago were caused by a reduction in stop-and-frisk tactics by Chicago Police.

The tactics were fairly commonplace in Chicago until they were terminated due to a settlement between the city and the American Civil Liberties Union.

According to the University of Utah, professors Paul Cassell and Richard Fowles claim that since the end of the controversial practice, crime and murder have spiked, allowing armed criminals to roam the streets of a city known for strict gun control.

Even when taking into account factors such as temperature, arrests for various crime categories, and 911 calls to police, multiple analysis would turn up the same results, ultimately creating the phenomena that Chicago Police refer to as the “ACLU Effect.”

“Our research helps to pinpoint the cause of one of the most striking increases in crime in a major American city in recent years. Sadly, the cause was a restriction on pro-active police policies forced by the ACLU,” said Cassell.

“As a consequence of these changes, Chicago police conducted far fewer stop-and-frisks in 2016.  While the changes were well-intentioned, the results were disastrous. Many additional homicides and shooting crimes occurred in 2016, particularly some of Chicago’s most impoverished neighborhoods.”

In conclusion of their findings, the researchers have suggested that city government reassessing the benefits of stop-and-frisk as a policing tool; reassuring minority communities that stop-and-frisks can serve a vital law enforcement purpose; removing or simplifying the stop-and-frisk form to make the tool easier for police officers to use; relying on body cameras more broadly; and researching, through randomized controlled trials, the efficacy of stop-and-frisks.

“The costs of crime -and particularly gun crimes- are too significant to avoid considering every possible measure for reducing the toll,” Cassell and Fowles state in the conclusion of their study. “The evidence gathered here suggests that stop and frisk policies may be truly lifesaving measures that have to be considered as part of any effective law enforcement response to gun violence.”

The study is to be presented to the University of Illinois College of Law on April 4.

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