Tag: crime

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 predictive validity of cognitive ability

There is overwhelming evidence showing the predictive validity of cognitive ability for important life outcomes. Cognitive ability measured as early as age 6 has a strong association with one’s future success in a number of important outcomes, including academic achievement, occupational performance, income, educational attainment, occupational prestige, criminality, self-control, and health. The associations are typically large, often making cognitive ability the best predictor for such outcomes. In this post, I will cite research showing this evidence. I will begin with some background on cognitive ability, including definitions, the distributions of IQ test scores, the stability of cognitive ability test scores, and expert consensus on the validity of cognitive ability. Finally, I will cite data demonstrating the predictive validity of cognitive ability in academic achievement, occupational performance, socioeconomic success, anti-social behavior, and health.

Achievement beyond IQ: childhood self-regulation

In previous posts, I have emphasized the predictive power of IQ on a variety of outcomes such as education academic achievement, educational attainment, occupational prestige, income, and crime. I referenced studies showing that IQ is a better predictor of many of these outcomes compared to other metrics traditionally assumed to predict success. For example, many studies show that IQ predicts education, occupation, and income better than many metrics that people assume to be predictors of success – e.g. parental SES, parental income, parental education, etc. Such data might lead some to believe that IQ is by far the single best predictor of conventional measures of success within Western societies. I wish to challenge that idea in this post. I do not necessarily deny that IQ is generally the best predictor of certain measures of success. Rather, I insist that there are a variety of personality traits that are better predictors for certain measures of success. There are many personality traits that I could use to support my argument, such as conscientiousness or locus of control. In this post, I will focus on self-regulation. I will present data showing that self-regulation predicts a variety of important outcomes independent of various confounders (including IQ and parental SES).

The black-white cognitive ability gap and social outcomes

Most people are aware that there are significant disparities between blacks and whites in the United States with regard to a wide range of important social outcomes, including crime, income, education, poverty, welfare usage, etc. For almost every measurable metric of important life outcomes, blacks perform significantly worse than whites. In this post, I will cite studies showing that many of these disparities are likely caused by the significant cognitive differences between blacks and whites. I begin by illustrating a few examples of the disparities between blacks and whites with respect to important life outcomes. Then I briefly review evidence demonstrating the predictive validity and causal influence of cognitive ability for these outcomes. Next, I present data illustrating the scope and magnitude of the black-white cognitive ability gap. Finally, I provide evidence indicating that many of the aforementioned disparities between blacks and whites are (mostly) eliminated after controlling for youth cognitive ability.

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.

The early emergence of black-white disparities

Most people are aware of the significant disparities between blacks and whites regarding a wide range of important social outcomes, including crime, income, education, poverty, welfare usage, etc. I have written extensively on racial disparities in crime and on the degree to which disparities in IQ explain many of the important racial disparities. In this post, I will review studies and data that show that many of these disparities appear extremely early. Specifically, I will show that disparities in IQ, cognitive skills, misconduct, and self-regulation appear extremely early in life. For each of these categories, I will show that we find black-white disparities at pre-school age or even earlier. The general pattern for these disparities is that they gradually grow as children age, until the magnitude of the disparities eventually mirror the gaps that we find between black and white adults.

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.

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