In the News

Franklin Zimring in the news:

Oakland police stops blacks at higher rate

Frank Zimring quoted in The San Francisco Chronicle, March 24, 2014 (link inactive)

The data also comes out at time when the department is working to reduce crime and rebuild public trust in one of the most dangerous cities in America, said Frank Zimring…. “This is a real dilemma, because on one hand there’s no evidence that the police are using anything other than crime-controlled criteria to select the targets for their stops, but on the other hand, most of the people they stop are African-Americans,” Zimring said. “There is no clean ‘Everybody wins,’ solution to this.”

Divide emerges over future of interim Oakland police chief

Franklin Zimring quoted in Inside Bay Area, February 21, 2014
“The best argument for an inside appointment is the less-than-stellar opportunity that a police chief of Oakland might represent to the 10 best young police administrators in the country,” said Franklin Zimring, a criminologist and law professor at UC Berkeley. “I certainly wouldn’t put it in first place.”

NYPD: As stop-frisk declines, gunfire increases

Franklin Zimring quoted in Newsday, December 15, 2013

Franklin Zimring, a professor at Berkeley Law in California, said the size and duration of the changes in the number of shootings in New York have to be watched. “There could be random fluctuations,” Zimring said. “You have to imagine it is like baseball statistics,” said Zimring, who has studied New York City crime trends. If a hot hitter suddenly strikes out three times, what he then does in his next 10 at bats becomes important, he said.

A top cop’s global rep

Franklin Zimring quoted in Newsday, December 5, 2013

“The very best news about a Bratton police commissionership at this point in New York history is the record in Los Angeles,” Franklin Zimring, a professor at Berkeley Law at the University California. “He stepped into a department with enormous problems. Through tighter and strategic management in Los Angeles … [Bratton] managed to improve the reputation of the department … in a relatively short period of time.”

Bratton to lead New York police for second time

Franklin Zimring quoted in The New York Times, December 5, 2013

Criminologists have long debated how much of New York’s crime decline can be attributed to the changes he put into place, and they have struggled to explain the strong downward trends across the country through the 1990s. ”If we can’t explain that in Toledo, we can’t explain it in New York either,” said Franklin E. Zimring, a criminologist at Berkeley Law School who has written on New York City’s crime decline. But, he added, ”A lot of the long term success of policing in New York is something that is properly credited” to Mr. Bratton.

SF becomes Gotham, with Mar as extra villain

Franklin Zimring quoted in San Francisco Chronicle, November 17, 2013

As UC Berkeley Law School Professor Franklin Zimring said, “Whenever you have people thinking it will be harder to buy tomorrow, they buy more today.”

The Rose City’s homicide drought

Franklin Zimring quoted in Portland Tribune, October 31, 2013

Police can’t anticipate an argument to be there to stop the escalation, so for years, Zimring says, he believed police could only react once a homicide was committed. But studies show that those escalating arguments are not completely random. “It keeps happening, the same night and close to the liquor store, in hot spots or open-air drug markets,” Zimring says. “It has extremely predictable geography.”

Alternative program gives federal defendants a second chance

Franklin Zimring quoted in Los Angeles Times, October 22, 2013

Any program that keeps people out of prison is a step in the right direction, said Berkeley law professor Frank Zimring. Still, after decades of skyrocketing incarceration rates—in 1979, 44% of federal felony convictions went to prison, compared with 91% in 2008, Zimring said—programs like CASA are “trying to take a little nibble out of Godzilla.”

False premise of gun sentences

Franklin Zimring writes for Chicago Sun-Times, October 15, 2013

Don’t take my word for it that the backgrounds and motives of people who commit gun-carrying offenses — and their danger to the community — are too varied for a mandatory minimum penalty to be fair and reasonable. Ask the prosecutors in Cook County, who allow and agree to plea bargaining in the vast majority of felony convictions for carrying guns.

Number of murders in NYC dips to 1950s level

Franklin Zimring quoted in Newsday, September 26, 2013

The problem for the new mayor and police commissioner, Zimring said, is that the phenomenally good results so far in 2013 set a high standard. If homicides increase in 2014, some may view it as a failure, he said. “If 240 homicides in almost nine months of New York experience becomes the new benchmark, I am not running for commissioner,” Zimring said.

Oakland’s aim

Franklin Zimring quoted in the Los Angeles Times, September 14, 2013

“It doesn’t isolate the big cities in California, it isolates one city in California,” said … Franklin Zimring. “It says, ‘OK, Oakland, you’ve got a big problem now, let’s see what you want to add to the existing California policy that responds to the nature of firearms violence Oakland-style.’” The Oakland experiment, Zimring said, could serve to “test the waters of local control and to see whether the political process that produces city-level gun policy can get inclusive and responsible, and whether it can get specific and selective in ways that can solve the problem.”

NYPD data shows crime drops with fewer stops

Franklin Zimring quoted in Newsday, September 5, 2013

The sky hasn’t fallen as stop-and-frisks declined, raising doubts about a close relationship between the activity and crime levels, Zimring said. “It may be more subtle or it may take more time,” he said of the crime trends. “But the easiest kind of cause and effect inference to come from the data, doesn’t seem to be there.”

Secrecy in Oakland on crime-fighting strategy

Franklin Zimring quoted in San Francisco Chronicle, August 23, 2013 (registration required)

“OK, Mayor Quan; OK, police chief du jour, you tell me what you are doing and how it is working, and you have to tell me in a convincing fashion,” said Zimring. “Eight arrests are a big deal, but what are those eight arrests doing to decrease gunshots in Oakland? And if we don’t know, how will we know and when will we know?”

Barry White Jr.’s road to double murder charges

Malcolm Feeley and Franklin Zimring quoted in Contra Costa Times, August 29, 2013

“What the judge did was perfectly reasonable in my judgment,” said UC Berkeley law professor Malcolm Feeley. “It’s just one of the tragedies with a criminal justice system that presumes innocence before guilt and allows bail. Some people take advantage of that.”

Criminal law professor Frank Zimring questioned why White’s 2009 criminal case had not been litigated more promptly. “Why the hell wasn’t this case disposed of years ago?” he said. “If you want to remove him from the streets, go convict him.”

Ray Kelly says stop & frisk saves lives. There’s no good evidence for that.

Franklin Zimring cited in The Washington Post, August 20, 2013

Frank Zimring at Berkeley Law credits hot spot policing with much of the city’s progress in his book, The City that Became Safe. But he’s also said we don’t know if stop and frisk works.

Holder announces sentencing reform for some drug offenders

Franklin Zimring interviewed by KQED Forum, August 13, 2013

“Attorney General Holder is signaling the U.S. attorneys to stop the flow of prisoners (who could go to state systems) into the federal system. The state prisons have grown about 700 percent over the period since 1974, but the federal system has actually been growing faster than that. This is the first attempt of an attorney general to push back on that growth process.”

What NYPD really needs: polite police

Franklin Zimring writes for TIME, Viewpoint, August 13, 2013

The most important reform to stop-and-frisk tactics will be reducing the hostility and indignity of the process. Most of the young men stopped on the street are not committing crimes. Only badly trained cops need to make street stops into contests of domination. Street policing can be firm but polite and respectful, and the very concentration of such efforts in those neighborhoods most impoverished for municipal respect makes a polite police force even more necessary.

Crime makes halting comeback as a political issue, even as conservatives embrace softer stance

Franklin Zimring quoted in Associated Press, July 6, 2013

Frank Zimring, a University of California-Berkeley law professor who has written widely on crime and politics, noted that crime rates appear to have leveled out after a two-decade decline. He called the recent GOP efforts “the test run as to whether there could be a resurgence in hard-right, punitive” crime politics. In California, the Republican Party has no statewide office-holders and less than one-third of the seats in the state legislature. In those circumstances, Zimring said, “you consult your greatest hits playbook from previous eras.”

New York City has fewer than 1 murder a day

Franklin Zimring quoted in The Wall Street Journal, June 28, 2013 (registration required)

“This is unprecedented in modern urban American history,” he says. While there is no easy answer for why the numbers are going down in New York and other urban areas, he says the murder decline in 2012 and the continuing drop in 2013 were distinct from the period from 1990 through 2009 when a study of his concluded that the NYPD’s policing policies “are the only obvious candidate to take credit for the crime drop.” He adds, “What we have now is good news without a ready explanation.”

NYC the safest big city in the country? FBI crime stats mixed

Frankin Zimring quoted in Huffington Post, June 14, 2013

The big story is still the murder rate, Zimring said. “For a city of its size and diversity, New York City’s homicide experience is very close to Guinness Book of World Records, certainly by American standards, and it just keeps going lower,” he said.