City crime rates by racial composition?

I am currently stuck in Miami, talking to my father. My father has a very strong belief, in his own words, that Latinos are irredeemably criminal wherever they go, and that there are strong differentiations in intelligence by race.

My question to the Dope is: are there any statistics to support this allegation? (He claims he gets his belief from ‘reading the newspaper.’) Where are the necessary statistics to refute these claims?

Don’t bother. Looking for statistics to prove or refute this won’t matter – people who hold beliefs like that hold them for emotional (prejudice) reasons, not logical reasons. So providing logical evidence won’t change their mind any.

Just enjoy your father for what he is, and avoid talking about this subject.

Here is an article with some maps showing incarceration rates by race:

You might show this to your father and point out that in Florida, hispanics are in jail at a very low rate – just like non-hispanic whites.

Part of the reason it doesn’t make much sense to look at statistics about crime and ethnic or population profile is that what we criminalize can be so skewed.

For instance, we make drugs illegal, the use of drugs criminal and the selling of drugs the most criminal. Thus the folks at the bottom end of the socioeconomic ladder end up being the most “criminal” statistically. They have the crappiest lives, the most inclination to drown their misery with drugs, and the fewest resources with which to support their habit.

The criminalization of drugs and the War on Drugs is such an obviously stupid and counterproductive framework that I get steam coming off my head when I think about it. I am no bleeding heart liberal. I’m for executing naughty people and all that. But it’s ridiculous to criminalize personal behaviour and then rant about how people who choose those behaviours are criminals. I would much rather spend the money from the Drug War on free drugs for those who want them and free programs for those who want to quit. Sorry for the OT rant.

Statistics will support the difference in intelligence among population groups. The cause of this difference will not likely be resolved in a thread here. Any chance of getting good old Dad to take on the world one individual at a time and leave population studies to the academic world?

That may be, but I expect that if you look at, say, murder rates by state, you would find that there’s a relationship between the racial/ethnic composition of the state and the murder rate.

And that is point, where we are stepping on muddy ground. Sure, there is some statistical correlation between racial composition and crime rate. But it says absolutely nothing why there is correlation. Is that because latino are criminally inclined? And maybe they are poor, and poor areas have higher crime rate, regardless of ethnicity? And maybe high crime rate is there first, and cause prices of real estate to drop, thus causing poor latinos to choose that areas to live? Or maybe there are like thousand other things, that cause this correlation? It’s very complex matter and “hard numbers” from simple statistical correlation aren’t as hard, as they appear.

To be sure, correlation is not causation. But the original poster seemed interested in refuting his father’s claims by showing that all groups had similar crime rates.

I agree with this statement, and I do not even disagree that there may be population differences inherent in those populations which predispose them to violence. I am only suggesting that crime statistics alone are insufficient to prove this point.

As an example, suppose that crime statistics show a disproportionate number of Latinos committing murder in Los Angeles (I am not saying they do, but for the sake of Dad’s issues, assume it is so). If those murders are gang-on-gang killings over the root cause of drug-selling turf, what have you proven? That Latinos are naturally violent, that they are caught up in a lifestyle beyond their ability to escape, or that by criminalizing drugs we have created a landscape where survival and advancement within that particular community is dependent on violence? My bias is toward the latter, but my point is that crime statistics alone do not tell the whole story.

Over the centuries there have been populations which were considered inherently violent but which over time have managed to escape.

How would that explain West Virginia? Which is a) the poorest state in the nation; b) has the lowest crime rate in the nation and c) has one of the lowest concentrations of minorities in the nation?

It depends what point we are trying to prove. So far in this thread I haven’t been arguing that observed differences in criminality between races/ethnic groups are “natural” or “inherent.” Only that those differences exist.

Widespread rural poverty does not have the same impact on crime rates to that caused by urban deprivation. I think I’m right in saying the latter doesn’t account for much of West Virginia?!

Yet another problem with ‘hard numbers’ - they only tell you about the criminals caught. If there was equal criminality among different races in one location, but the police tended to focus their attention on particular minorities, then those minorities will become over-represented in the statistics of convicted criminals.

Goodgoblygoo, Gesusgodmotherfuckingdamnit*, just do it! Crunch the numbers! Per the OP, XRace is this likely to commit a felony, YRace is this likely to commite a felony, etc. It’s that easy. Stop pussying around with the imponderables and PC stalltactics and give us the gesusfuck numbers. Gesusgodmotherfuckingdamnit*.

*This is my new word. I’m going to try and slip it in in casual conversation this week at work, e.g. "Gesusgodmotherfuckingdamnit, I’ll take a New Yorker with relish instead of kraut. Gesusgodmotherfuckingdamnit, yes I still want the mustard, and I want a fork with it this time, shiite, woman!

(Originally Posted by Chief Pedant):
I am only suggesting that crime statistics alone are insufficient to prove this point.

I was referring to my own antecedent sentence: “I do not even disagree that there may be population differences inherent in those populations which predispose them to violence.”

While I’m not necessarily inclined to go through all the numbers, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report compiles data on arrests in the United States and the racial identity of the persons arrested. It’s a lot of data to look through, but it’s all here. I’m not making any argument in regard to the validity or applicability of said data. Keep in mind that the UCR compiles data based on arrests (which are not synonymous with convictions, although generally in the United States conviction rates are quite high.)

Does anyone else find it hilarious/sad that this information isn’t readily available? Everything else is. Everything, else. Everything.

While it’s worthy of note that some persons will believe a thing to support their prejudices, there is an opposing segment of the population willing to gainsay or explain away any data conflicting with their beliefs.

The old bromide: figures lie and liars figure.

I typed in “crime race statistics” in google and came up with this page. Very easy to find.

I typed in “crime statistics hispanic” and came up with this page.

It is clear that blacks are victims of and perpetrate crime far beyond their representation in the poplulation. Hispanics are also over-represented according to their proportion, but not as much as blacks.

There was recently an article in the NY Times

that showed that in some American major cities the overall decrease in violent crime was not occuring – towards the end of the article they mention that the decrease was not occuring mainly in cities that had sizeable black populations.

Side comment: if you take out black and hispanic homicides, the U.S. homicide rate is about that of Finland.

It is clear that black and hispanic minorities are victims of and perpetrators of crime far beyond their representation in the population, and this cannot simply be explained by poverty.

Well, if this is true, goddamn.

Mississippi has an equivalent amount of rural poverty. Yet their crime rate is much higher. As is their minority population.

Well, it seems rather obvious that these cancel each other out. If everybody is desperately poor, nobody has anything worth stealing – why bother with crime when it doesn’t pay?