Monday, August 06, 2007

Mandatory arrest is killing people

The NY Times reports:
TWO decades ago, in an effort to curb domestic violence, states began passing “mandatory arrest” laws. Police officers responding to a call for help would no longer need to determine whether one person was truly violent or out of control; every time someone reported abuse, the police would simply be required to make an arrest. ...

But 20 years later, it seems the mandatory arrest laws are having an unintended, deadly side effect. The number of murders committed by intimate partners is now significantly higher in states with mandatory arrest laws than it is in other states.
I don't think that this should be called an "unintended" consequence. The law essentially says that you cannot call the cops to just break up a fight and not arrest anyone. Every time these laws get debated, someone always points out that if it is impossible to call the cops to just break up a fight, then it is a predictable consequence that the law will deter some people
from calling the cops.

The law should be obviously foolish anyway. 22 states must have legislatures that think that cops should spend their time going around busting up marriages.

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