Crime stories have been the lead headlines for time immortal in news reporting. There is an old saying about headlines “if it bleeds it leads”. Despite statistics to the contrary you might think we are descending into the wild west of rampant crime. Depending on your source of news it might appear as either genocide against whites or a reason to blame blacks for society’s ills. As with any story there are three sides, the third side is the truth.
As with any tale it helps put your stereotypes aside when deciding which side to believe. Even Jesse Jackson admits when out and about he is relieved to find footsteps behind him belong to a white person. Could this over simplified standardization of black youths be in anyway related to the third side, the truth? Are blacks responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime? The only way to verify this is to look at raw numbers.
The easiest numbers to locate are the murder rates based upon race in the United States. The Justice Department helpfully breaks this down in convenient tables for an easy comparison. (http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/htus8008.pdf ) It is easy to see that blacks are responsible for 52.5% of the murders in United States and whites and Hispanics for 45.3%. For perspective, there were 15,000 murders in 2010, so 7,875 were at the hands of Blacks and 6,795 were white and Hispanic killers and a tiny percent were other races. Since murder is the ultimate crime and most often the victim and perpetrator are known to each other this number could be skewed when talking about crime in general.
What about lesser crimes like robbery, criminal mischief, shootings and firearm arrests? How do these numbers stack up? Despite the federal government keeping records of race when it involves taxes, housing, welfare, immigration, voting habits and economics for some strange reason only murder is broken down by race for public consumption. Thankfully the New York City Police Department keeps track of crimes by race down to the precinct level. They use this to identify where they are needed most and in addition make these reports available to the public. (http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/downloads/pdf/analysis_and_planning/2012_year_end_enforcement_report.pdf)
The NYC reports murder and homicides percents at 51.4% for blacks and 9.2% for whites with an additional 36.7% involving Hispanics. This agrees with the federal findings and would reduce the nationwide murder rate by just whites to 1,380 of 15,000. So what about lesser crimes that affect most people and the quality of life?
Starting at the bottom of the criminal pyramid, criminal mischief arrests were logged as blacks 36.5%, Whites 22.9% and Hispanic 36.4%. Moving up to robbery the numbers fairly jump off the page at 62.1% for Blacks, 6.2% for Whites and 29.0% for Hispanics. Grand larceny which is stealing over $1,000 in goods or services in NYC the perps are 52.0% Black, 14% White and 28.5% Hispanic. Showing a need for range time, non fatal shootings 75% of these arrests are Blacks 2.4% whites and 22.0% Hispanic. Almost mirroring that number, in strict gun control New York 73.2% of the arrests for firearms are Blacks with Hispanics trailing in at 21.5% and Whites a distant third at 4.2%.
So as Joe Friday could have, but didn’t say those are “Just the Facts Ma’am”. In respect to the numbers there is a problem with crime in the Black community. It doesn’t just affect the Black community it affects society at large. The excuses vary depending on the messenger. It has been blamed on poverty, upbringing, racism, and even lead paint exposure. If you are a victim of one or any of these crimes does the reason matter?
After looking at these numbers it would seem Jackson has reasons for being relieved when followed by a white instead of a black, Zimmerman was correct to keep an eye on Martin and not for reasons of prejudice but because of the black and white numbers.