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What Happens When Black Crime Rates Aren't "Neutral"?

By Features Desk

Sunday, September 25 2016.

With the recent events in Charlotte all over the news, black crime is once again in the spotlight. Again, the media is covering the radical elements in the black community. And that coverage is feeding into a narrative that black people just commit more crime. But is any of that true? Or is it just down to the way that the statistics are collected?

One common accusation of the black community is that it harbors a “culture of violence.” Given the number of arrests and incarcerations, it certainly seems that way. Black people currently make up more than 40 percent of the prison population, despite comprising a mere 13 percent of the US population. But statistics have a habit of being tricky creatures. For instance, one person might look at those figures and conclude that crime in the black community is out of control. Another would look at the same data and suggest that perhaps there was something seriously wrong with the legal system.

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The problem is primarily in the statistics themselves. They aren’t “neutral.” Here’s why.

Blacks Are More Likely To Be Arrested

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If you’ve ever spent a lot of time in a white community, you’ll have noticed the distinct absence of police. You’re far less likely to be stopped. And, as a result, it’s far less likely that you’ll ever be convicted of a crime. The situation in black communities is very different. These communities are far more heavily policed. And as a result, far more black people get charged with criminal offenses. For instance, the rate of drink driving is roughly the same for blacks as it is for whites. But blacks are much more likely to be stopped and charged, making black crime rates appear higher than they are. Although companies like Mace Law can help with your DUI charge, it's clear than the black community is singled out here.

Black Are More Likely To Be Convicted

Of course, not all charges lead directly to a conviction. Some charges will be dropped, and others will be declared innocent at trial. But there are problems here for blacks too. We’re far more likely than whites to be convicted once we’re charged. And, as a result, the statistics get fed back into official figures, making black crime seem worse. There is a whole host of reasons for this. The first is that judges, whether they like it or not, are unconsciously biased against certain groups of people. This is particularly the case for men and people of African American heritage. Then there’s also the fact that a lot of individuals in our community are poor. And, as a result, they can’t always afford the best legal representation. Both of these factors come together to cause far higher conviction rates than otherwise.

Blacks Are More Likely To Be Imprisoned

It would be great if the legal system dished out fair justice for all. But unfortunately, incarceration rates between blacks and whites differ, even for the same crime. Thus, Blacks are about 15 percent more likely to be sent to jail.

When all of these biases in the statistics are added together, the figures are enormously distorted.

What Happens When Black Crime Rates Aren't "Neutral"?

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