The Guardian quotes Matt Pearce as saying:

Remember that in Ferguson, there are huge, huge, huge numbers of outstanding warrants. More warrants than residents.

Is this true? How could that be possible?


1 Answer 1


An NPR report states

In 2013, the municipal court in Ferguson — a city of 21,135 people — issued 32,975 arrest warrants for nonviolent offenses, mostly driving violations.

They cite this table from a document on the Missouri Courts website - see the last line of the snippet.

Snippet of table showing outstanding warrants

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    @BrianDHall alot of these warrants come from getting a ticket with a court date attached, and then not showing up to court, the court then instantly issue a warrant for your arrest, once arrested you get a new court date, a fine, and your good to go. its like this in the areas around chicago were i live, run a red light, get a speeding ticket, brake light out, ect you get a ticket with a court date, because then you have to pay the 75 dollar ticket and the 25 dollar court fee, i can guarantee that most of the traffic warrants are from missing your court date.
    – Himarm
    Jan 6, 2015 at 15:39
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    If you would like to edit the answer to add some context to explain the surprising result to people from different regions and socioeconomic groups, please go ahead. However, I have deleted a comment conversation that devolved into hammering political stakes in the ground; that is off-topic.
    – Oddthinking
    Jan 6, 2015 at 16:17
  • More context: stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/… (St., Louis city doesn't have as many as one warrant per person, but half of them are non violent municipal offences, and the people they concern have about 3 each). As with many political questions on this site, I'm unsure whether it's on topic to even address the possible motivation for thinking the claim is in any way surprising. It's true, but that doesn't mean the inference that the average reader would draw from it is true ;-) Jan 6, 2015 at 19:43
  • Last reminder: We have a wonderful chat system for your off-topic discussions. Please don't use comments for them.
    – Oddthinking
    Jan 7, 2015 at 23:50

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