News Release

Do black lives matter protests impact fatal police interactions and crime?

Peer-Reviewed Publication


A new analysis of nine years of nationwide data examines the impacts of the Black Lives Matter movement on fatal interactions with police, and on crime and arrests.

The analysis, which is published in Contemporary Economic Policy, found that that one additional protest was associated with a drop of 0.22 fatal encounters per 10 million Black population in the subsequent month or a 3.34% drop in the average number of Black fatal interactions. There was no evidence that increased Black Lives Matter protests had impacts on property crime, violent crime, officer assaults, or officer attacks. There also was no evidence of the protest movement impacting the numbers of arrests of Black or non-Black individuals.

"While the data goes only through 2018 and does not include the latest developments of the Black Lives Matter movement, I found that protests were correlated with a short-term drop in fatal interactions with police for Black individuals. Though the impact appears to be modest and relatively short-lived, this contributes to the relatively small body of research on the effectiveness of protest movements," said author Evelyn Skoy, PhD, of the University of Colorado. "I found no evidence that protests increased crime or decreased proactive policing as critics of the movement feared."


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