Study: Murder rates soar in cities after Black Lives Matter protests

The number of murders (red) and reported property crimes (blue) in a city with BLM protests is seen relative to the first year that protests began there

A researcher at the University of Massachusetts had better brace for having his degree or even his career canceled: He found that cities, where Black Lives Matter protests occurred, had a significant decrease in police killings … but a huge overall increase in murders.

Economics Ph.D. candidate Travis Campbell published the findings in a recent pre-print study of the impact of BLM protests on use of deadly force by police.

The analysis found that cities with BLM protests had 15 to 20 percent fewer police homicides than might be expected if the protests had not taken place. This works out to 300 fewer police killings nationwide over five years.

In a revised unpublished version shared with, however, Campbell finds that cities that saw BLM protests also experienced a 10 percent increase in murders overall, equaling 1,000 to 6,000 additional murders nationwide.

The study is still undergoing peer review.

In an interview with, Campbell stressed that he believes comparing the post-protest increase in murders to the decrease in police killings is “an apples and oranges comparison” that underplays the positive effects of BLM protests.

“I know that it’s really tempting to want to compare a count of homicides to a count of use of force, but I really don’t think that is a good thing to do,” said Campbell of his uncomfortable findings.

“There are different implications when the police kill people and when civilians kill people,” he added. “There is evidence of really important spillover effects to police killings, specifically the impacts on black mental health and on crime – there is evidence police homicides impact civilian homicides.”

Campbell said his data suggested that BLM protests result in “less police effort and less proactive policing” — that is, demoralized police.

First reported by Vox, the study shows murder rates went up in the years following BLM protests while reports of minor crimes tended to decrease.

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