Book Review: The War on Cops by Heather Mac Donald

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Harvey Mudd College
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The book explains that there is some overwhelming increase in malicious attacks on the law enforcement that has led to many people feeling unsafe in the recent times. The aim of the book is to declare that zero tolerance policing is the best for communities that have high numbers of criminal activities (Friedman, 2016). The author seeks to educate the nation on the benefits of supporting the police over the black community that feels that the racial profiling cases have increased significantly and are a danger to the young people of the community. The author seeks to explain the Ferguson effect that according to her has led to a high in criminal activities in many of the states. Her point of view is that contrary to the thinking of many it is not the police officers that have become more racial but the criminals who are to be held accountable for the increase in black murders.

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She writes the book to try and educate the country that the problem is not incarceration rates of the nation but the increase in criminal activities and therefore, anti-police activism does not solve the problem. What it does is make communities such as Harlem, South Central Los Angeles and South Chicago more dangerous as crime rates keep increasing in the wake of police stand down. The issue brought out in the book is valid however the society does not view it the way the author does. In a situation where the community feels stereotyped, it is hard to convince people to see any logic in the system.

The main strengths of her writing are that she uses statistical evidence to explain her viewpoint. For example, she states that in 2015, there were 258 shootings by the police on black men and women and makes sure to indicate that most of them attempted to attack the police leading to their deaths. In contradiction in2016 6,095 people were killed by blacks. According to the numbers, it is clear that there is more crime in the society than the black lives that have been taken which she uses as a basis for her writing. One of the main weaknesses is that she does not support the statistics that are evident in most cities where for example in the stop and frisk by the police most of those that get to be checked are men of black descent. The constitution states that all men were created to be equal and therefore, none should be victimized for their skin color.

She however cohesively explains in her writing that impact that de-policing would have on such communities that are filled with criminal gangs is more fatal. She seeks to explain with determination and clarity that it is not that the blacks commit more crimes than both whites and Hispanics combined and that is the contributing factor to police being keen on them as policing follows crimes.

The book gives a different perspective that not many people are looking at in their analysis. Most are for the support of police standing down and for that reason crimes will continue to escalate making the society more unsafe for everyone. However, proper civil education needs to be done for the neighborhoods that are crime prone. Make the community members aware of how to act in certain situations that will help the police to execute their mandate without having to feel insecure and hence using force, which is mostly the situation that predisposes to most of the deaths.


Friedman, B. (2016). The Problem with Modern Policing as Seen from the Right and from the Left. The New York Times. Retrieved from

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