Crime and Punishment

Racial Ratios

March 23, 2016

Multiple Pages
Racial Ratios

Earlier this month, John Rivers tweeted out his hope for the future:

I dream of a world where a mid­level manager in a mid­level company can accurately quote FBI crime statistics on Facebook and not be fired.

We don’t live in that utopia, however, so you should be cautious about mentioning this article at work. But at least accurately quoting government crime statistics is more convenient than ever due to the publication of The Color of Crime, 2016 Revised Edition.

Researched and written in a sober, judicious manner by veteran economic analyst Edwin S. Rubenstein, this is the first update since 2005 of Jared Taylor’s American Renaissance magazine’s venerable report on racial differences in crime rates.

Most of the government data used in the report ends with the year 2013, and therefore generally offers an encouraging contrast to the last report’s use of 2002 as its terminus. From 2002 to 2013, most crime rates fell, and racial differences moderated somewhat.

An epilogue to this 12,000­-word study, however, deals with the alarming spike in homicide rates in 2015 during the Black Lives Matter agitation. The Washington Post reported in January:

The number of homicides in the country’s 50 largest cities rose nearly 17 percent last year, the greatest increase in lethal violence in a quarter century. A Wonkblog analysis of preliminary crime data found that about 770 more people were killed in major cities last year than the year before, the worst annual change since 1990.

It’s tragic but hardly unexpected that the anti­white race-baiting by the Obama Administration, the Soros Foundation, and the national media has led to hundreds more blacks being murdered by other blacks.

“A body with a hole in it demands attention.”

After all, that’s also what happened in the 1960s, the last time liberals grabbed control of the criminal justice system. During the Warren Court era, incarceration was driven way down per crime committed, so, amazingly enough, more crimes were committed. Before that historic mistake was finally rectified, much of urban America had been reduced to depopulating slums.

Rubenstein carefully walks readers through the different sources of statistics about crime and race, such as arrests, imprisonment, and interviews with victims.

All three measures come up with similar racial ratios. On average, blacks commit more violent crimes than Hispanics, who commit more than whites, who commit more than Asians.

The more severe the crime, the worse the racial ratios tend to be. For example, California data is instructive because it carefully breaks out Latinos from whites, whereas federal statistics usually lump whites and Hispanics together. In California, blacks are arrested for homicide 8.6 times as often as whites (down from 9.8 times in 2002) compared with 2.5 times for Hispanics (down from 3.6 in 2002). Robbery, a career that favors the athletic and fleet of foot, is even more of a black specialty, with a black-to-white ratio of 13.4 (down from 15.9 in 2002) versus 2.0 for Hispanics (down from 2.7).

In contrast, in California, blacks are arrested for driving offenses only 1.7 times as often as whites, and Hispanics merely 1.3 times as often.

Or, to use national statistics, blacks are incarcerated 13.1 times as often as whites in state prisons for robbery but only 2.6 times as often for “other property crimes.”

Rubenstein makes the important point that this pattern of lower racial ratios for less vicious crimes is inconsistent with the conventional wisdom that racial differences must be the result of blacks and Hispanics being the victims of discrimination by police and juries:

Almost without exception, the black/white and Hispanic/white arrest multiples are lower for the less serious crimes. Whatever else this difference may mean, it is strong evidence that the police are not making biased arrests. Police have broad discretion as to whether they will arrest someone for forcible touching, shoplifting, or setting off a false fire alarm. If racist police wanted to vent prejudices on non-whites, these are the crimes for which they could most easily do so. They can walk away if someone complains he was spat on, and if they are racist they can walk away if the spitter is white but make an arrest if the spitter is black. Police cannot walk away if someone is lying on the sidewalk bleeding from a knife wound.

A body with a hole in it demands attention.

Interracial violence, contrary to the impression you might get these days from the obsessions of respectable media outlets, is overwhelmingly skewed toward victimizing whites (and Asians):

In 2012 and 2013, blacks committed an annual average of 560,600 crimes of violence against whites whereas whites committed only about 99,400 such crimes against blacks. This means blacks were the attackers in 84.9 percent of the violent crimes involving blacks and whites.

The differences in propensity toward interracial violence are noteworthy:

In 2012/2013, the actual likelihood of attack was extremely low in all cases, but statistically, any given black person was 27 times more likely to attack a white and six times more likely to attack a Hispanic than vice versa. A Hispanic was eight times more likely to attack a white than the reverse.

Rubenstein puts “Black Lives Matter” into proper perspective by citing federal murder statistics:

Although most murders are within the same race, [individual] blacks were 13.6 times more likely to kill non­blacks than [individual] non­blacks were to kill blacks.

Of course, the relatively rare cases of whites attacking blacks monopolize media attention for the same reason that “Man Bites Dog” is more lucrative clickbait than “Dog Bites Man.”

Across the country, the incarceration rate for Hispanics is 289 vs. 113 for whites (vs. 709 for blacks). East Coast mulatto Hispanics from the Caribbean appear to be more crime-prone than Sun Belt mestizo Hispanics from Mesoamerica.

The recent decline in Hispanic crime rates in California is striking, especially when compared with the savagery across the border in Mexico during the same years. Estimates of the death toll in the Mexican drug war between 2006 and 2013 center around 120,000.

My guess is that the opposing trends are symbiotic. When my father and I used to drive around Mexico on vacations in the 1960s through 1980s, the crime rate may have been lower in Mexico than in California. Back then crime didn’t pay in semi­dictatorial Mexico but did pay in progressive California, where American­-born Chicanos flocked to join gangs to do battle with black gangs.

Since America lengthened prison sentences and Mexico wrested cocaine smuggling away from the Colombian cartels, though, crime is more likely to pay south of the border. Immigrant convicts who get deported after their sentences are up may now find it more profitable to stay in Mexico to pursue careers in drugs.

Also, America may be getting a less troublesome sort of immigrant from Mexico since the 1996 reforms restricted welfare. Mexicans in the United States increasingly come from the smaller, more docile, more Indian peoples of central and southern Mexico, while the Chicanos of a generation ago tended to be bigger, whiter, and from the more violent lands of northern Mexico.

This doesn’t mean that recent immigrants are all that law­-abiding, but they do tend to attract less police attention. Death rates from heroin overdoses, for example, have skyrocketed in the American heartland since the Mexican drug pushers arrived. Sam Quinones’ award­-winning book Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic documents how a Jalisco gang of black-tar heroin retailers has spread overdose deaths by staying off the cops’ radar. Also, they avoid having anything to do with African-Americans, whom the Mexican smack dealers stereotype as being prone to theft and violence. (When accurately quoting FBI crime statistics is criminal, only criminals will accurately quote FBI crime statistics.)

There has been much denunciation by Democrats and the more Jeb Bush-­like Republicans of mass incarceration, but The Color of Crime points out that imprisonment is in decline:

The incarceration rate peaked at 788 per 100,000 US residents in 2007 and declined to 730 by 2013.

Until the post­-Ferguson spike in black­-on-­black crime, it was looking as if imprisonment would begin to fall rapidly as the murderers of the crack era of a quarter century ago began to die off or be released.

Those who rage against “mass incarceration” would be more persuasive if they first apologized for what their ideological predecessors did to America in the 1960s and 1970s, and then explained why, exactly, they aren’t going to do the same thing all over again.

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