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Micro-sociology of violence looks at what happens in situations where people directly threaten violence, but only sometimes carry it out. This process and its turning points have become easier to see in the current era of visual data: cell-phone videos, long-distance telephoto lenses, CCTV cameras. New cues and instruments are on the horizon as we look at emotional signals, body rhythms, and monitors for body signs such as heart rate (a proxy for adrenaline level).
This comment reassesses the prominent claim from Desmond, Papachristos, and Kirk (2016) (DPK) that 911 calls plummeted—and homicides surged—because of a police brutality story in Milwaukee (the Jude story). The results in DPK depend on a substantial outlier 47 weeks after the Jude story, the final week of data. Identical analyses without the outlier final week show that the Jude story had no statistically significant effect on either total 911 calls or violent crime 911 calls.
By carefully examining our original data and models, Zoorob identified a potential outlier that should be scrutinized when evaluating our findings. We thank him for raising this important point and for engaging in collaborative, problem-solving research.