Tag Archive for Detroit Police Department

Why Riot?

What causes a riot in urban America?

The news media, social scientists, and political scientists are eager to offer up the usual stale left wing bromides on urban riots, but at best those bromides are based upon a lot of anecdotes rather than hard data. The plural of anecdote is not data. The disingenuousness of their bromides arises from the clash of facts with their committed leftist politics.  Economists were far less political, at least 25 years ago.

A pair of economists working under the aegis of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) applied linear regression computation modeling to various community statistics from a broad range of cities to determine which underlying issues cause riots and, further, to determine their intensity. Their results are a real eye opener and run contrary to the drivel being peddled by the media and academics on this 50th anniversary of the Detroit riots.

The National Bureau of Economic Research is a private nonprofit research organization which distributes its work product to financial officials and the public around the world. NBER is best known as the official arbiter of the start and end dates of economic recessions in the United States, a not uncontroversial subject. Its economists have run the gamut from the good (Milton Friedman, Wassily Leontief), to the bad (Austan Goolsbee), to the ugly (Paul Krugman). As a fun side note, it is comforting to know that an economists’ organization as august as NBER can lose money on their financial portfolio. No crony capitalists there!

The NBER divides its research into 20 programs; one of which is ‘Labor Studies’. Denise DiPasquale and Edward L. Glaeser produced NBER Working Paper 5456, The L.A. Riot and the Economics of Urban Unrest on behalf of the NBER Labor Studies Program. This paper was written after the Los Angeles riots of 1992, but its research reaches back into the 1960’s and across the world to construct its data base.

The DiPasquale/Glaeser study has two major components: a cross-national study which covers urban rioting around the world (including the U.S.), and a cross-city study which covers urban rioting across just the U.S. They assembled data sets on a large number of cities which included dependent variables representing the frequency of riots and the intensity of riots, along with many independent variables suggested by previous studies as being responsible for the frequency and intensity of those riots – poverty, unemployment, ethnic composition, and so on.

You Betcha! (13)Nuh Uh.(0)

Does Detroit need a lesson on the Fourth?

And no. I don’t mean that thing where we exercise out "right" to set off large quantities of fireworks next month.

Last weekend, I spent some time with some friends who now live out of town.

We did the “usual touristy” things like Greektown and the Casinos.

They wanted me to go with them to the Grand Prix, but I’m more of a NASCAR Guy than IndyCar.

Afterwards, I insisted on changing things up and that we go down to Lafayette to eat.

I told them that it was part of the “Authentic Detroit” dining experience and that sort of thing.

They had never been down there and after initially scarring the hell out of them (along with equally confusing them with how the food was ordered/delivered), they settled down a bit and we started to catch up on things. They began to comment on local stuff, basically regurgitating what people like Gov. Snyder, et al, were shoveling to the rest of the country about how things have turned around since the bankruptcy.

I laughed at their comments and replied to the effect that, “Yeah! They wish!”

“Look at all of this new stuff downtown? How can you argue that things aren’t better?”, they replied.

I told them that “Yes”, the Downtown Area has improved. Large amounts of government money tends to eventually do that. “Yes” places like the Riverfront have gotten nicer.

But then I added, the same cannot be said for the rest of the city.

They didn’t believe me.

They couldn’t accept the fact that everything was as bad as I told them it was.

I told them, “Fine, want to go on a little trip?”

They were a little apprehensious to say the least, but we loaded up into their car and we went happy motoring…away from the freeways.

I took them in places where even Crowder wouldn’t dare to venture!

We went up and down places like Jefferson, and then Warren and Mack where it didn’t take that long to notice the large swaths of bombed out/burned out neighborhoods (at least I think they were neighborhoods at one time), large piles of trash and abandoned/stolen vehicles (along with boats…yes boats) strewn about, pretty much every other building covered with graffiti, I told my now visibly scared “driver” that I wanted to stop at the next party store because I wanted to get something to drink.

Yes, I did that on purpose.

So, while we parked across the street and started walking towards the party store, I got bombarded with a ton of questions (besides is this really safe) like why that particular store had a chain-link fence around the roof topped with razor wire, why there were thick metal plate doors next to the entrance and why was there a flashing green light on the sign outside of the building. When we went inside, they did a double-take at the walkway surrounding most of the perimeter of the inside of the building separated by 1-inch thick Lexan.

I casually grabbed a 2-liter of Rock N’ Rye, they didn’t get anything (I cannot imagine why) and we went back to their car. I still had more to show them.

Continuing our “tour”, they still couldn’t get over the flashing strobe light on the sign.

“Oh that? That’s Green Light.”

And here is where out story turns to next…

{More after the fold}

You Betcha! (7)Nuh Uh.(2)