Category: Criminality

Regional analyses of racial disparities in violent crime in the United States

In this post, I analyze racial disparities in violent crime across different regions in the United States. Relying on publicly available data published by the CDC, the FBI, and the Census, I perform different analyses on racial differences in violent crime at the state-level, county-level, and city-level. For example, I consider differences in violent crime commission or victimization rate, percentage of violent crime offenders or victims by race, correlations by racial demographics and violent crime rate, and regression analyses to estimate the association between racial demographics and violent crime controlling for socioeconomic variables.

Arrest rates by race reflect crime rates by race

There is no dispute that there are large racial disparities in arrest rates in the United States, particularly between blacks and whites. The most natural inference to draw from this data is that these racial disparities in arrest rates are caused by racial disparities in crime rates. However, some argue that this natural inference is either incorrect or unjustified. They argue that racial differences in arrest rates may not reflect racial differences in crime rates, e.g. arrests by police may be biased, the crime data reporting may be biased, etc. In this post, I will provide data showing that the natural inference is in fact correct and justified. There is ample independent data showing that FBI-reported arrest rates by race are accurate reflections of true crime rates by race.

The magnitude and scope of black crime

The purpose of this post is to cite the extent of black crime around the world. The first section is concerned with black crime in the United States. This section should not be terribly surprising to most people since I assume (hope) most people are aware that black people are disproportionately engaged in crime in the United States. I believe the latter two sections contain information that most people are not aware of. The second section covers misconduct among black children in the United States. The third and final section covers black crime and misconduct outside of the United States. The last two sections, especially the last section, will probably be educational for the vast majority of people reading this post. If not, the post at the very least serves as a useful fact sheet for those interested in this topic.

Police killings and black crime

In light of the killing of George Floyd, there has been much discussion regarding anti-black bias in the criminal justice system (CJS) in the United States. It seems to me that the mainstream assumption is that the disproportionate police killings of black people is strong evidence of an anti-black bias in the CJS. My goal in this post is to refute this assumption. I believe that an honest and impartial assessment of all of the relevant data provides strong reason to deny that the disproportionate police killings of blacks is evidence of anti-black bias. I will argue that the best explanation of disproportionate police killings against blacks doesn’t involve any appeal to an anti-black bias. The best explanation consists in the fact that black people disproportionately engage in criminal activity and the fact that the police disproportionately kill criminals.

Exploring two common explanations of the black-white crime gap

The purpose of this post is to explore two commonly hypothesized explanations of the high levels of criminality in the black population. The first explanation states that high rates of black crime is primarily the result of systemic racism against blacks. The second explanation states that high rates of black crime is primarily the result of the structural or socioeconomic circumstances that black people find themselves in. I will present data that should prompt skepticism of both of these explanations. I’ll begin by describing racial differences in crime.

Studies attempting to explain the black-white crime gap

In a previous post, I provided reasons to be skeptical of SES-based explanations of black criminality. This post provides studies that attempt to more rigorously examine the relationship between SES and black criminality. At the city and state level, crime is more strongly associated with the presence of blacks than it is with low-SES conditions. At the neighborhood level, studies suggest that controlling for SES can statistically account for a moderate portion of the black-white gaps in crime (although findings are mixed on the magnitude of the explained gap). Regardless, as I will argue below, such studies cannot demonstrate causality. That is, they cannot demonstrate that racial differences in neighborhood SES cause any portion of the racial gap in crime.

Causes of disproportionate black crime

In a previous post, I argued that systemic racism and socioeconomic status (SES) were poor explanations of disproportionate levels of black crime. I concluded with the claim that the intelligence gap (or IQ gap), not the SES gap, is the primary cause of the disproportionate levels of black crime. In other words, the IQ gap is the primary cause of the disparities in crime between blacks and whites. I will defend this claim in the first half of this post. Another significant cause of the black-white crime gap seems to be differences in family structure between blacks and whites, e.g. racial differences in the rates of single-mother households and out-of-wedlock birth rates. I will explore the importance of family structure in the second half of the post.