Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Review: The Color of Crime, 2016

Image courtesy of The Color of Crime

When I was doing research on homicide rates and attempting to determine what the primary factors were that resulted in varying homicide rates between states and nations, I came across the 2005 version of The Color of Crime.  The study looks at crime and tests hypotheses about crime and arrest rates in the United States that have been forbidden from general discourse in the media.  The topic is beset by unproven assumptions and political correctness.  The Color of Crime has been updated to use the latest data available as of early 2016, and now includes a section on police killings of suspects.

The research uses government sources for data; there is little else to go by.  Some cities and states collect data that the federal government has stopped collecting.

The results of the evidence and analysis are startling, and turn many modern political assumptions on their head.

In The Color of Crime, for example, the authors compare victim surveys with arrest rates.  Victims would have little reason to misidentify criminals; and most crimes are intra-racial.  Comparing victim surveys with actual arrest rates show that overall, blacks are arrested at a slightly lower rate than the rate that they actually commit crimes.    Thus, if there is a bias, it is against black victims, rather than against black criminals.

The 2016 updated version is loaded with bar charts showing the statistical differences in crime rates between Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites.  There is also a fairly new category: "other" which appears to suffer from varying definitions in the government data.

The study analyzes new data dealing with officer shootings and killings of suspects, an area for which there is little official data or analysis.  Using data collected by the Washington Post,  it was found that black people were 2.45 times as likely to be shot by police as white people.  Black people were also 4.46 times as likely to kill a police officer than people of other races.  Black people are arrested for violent crimes at 5.35 times the arrest rate of White people.

There is little editorializing in the research, with a small amount of speculation that crime rate differences have something to do with economic status.

The study gives numbers and measurement to the stark facts that the vast majority of residents of large cities in the United States already know, and know that it has become politically correct to ignore.

There are no dearth of speculation for the differences in crime rates among Asians, Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics.

The important part of these statistics is that they destroy the idea that availability of guns is the driver of violent crime. If that were so, then inner cities, where there are few gun stores and legal guns are harder to come by, would have lower violent crime. But most of the killing is concentrated in small cultural groups. The groups that have easy access to legal guns have far lower violent crime.

At the minimum, it shows that the instruments are not the drivers of violent crime, other cultural factors are. Culture drives violent crime, not guns.
We can argue what the cultural factors are; fatherless homes; the remnants of slave culture; economics; attitudes toward authority; attitudes toward education. But it is clear that access to firearms is close to neutral, and may be positive or negative, but is not a driver.

This study shows that bias in arrest rates and incarceration rates is not one of them.  If anything, it points in the opposite direction.

If you wish to be knowledgeable about differing crime rates, arrest rates, and incarceration rates, and whether these rates can credibly be laid at the feet of bias in the judicial system, The Color of Crime is a must read.

 Link to The Color of Crime

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch 

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