Criminal Behavior, Not Racism, Explains ‘Racial Disparities’ in Crime Stats

A new study on racial disparities in police conduct found that differences in offending by suspects, not racism, explains officers’ responses.

In the study “Is There Evidence of Racial Disparity in Police Use of Deadly Force?” professors from Michigan State and Arizona State universities analyzed officer-involved fatal shootings in 2015 and 2016. The report’s abstract says: “We benchmark two years of fatal shooting data on 2016 crime rate estimates. When adjusting for crime, we find no systematic evidence of anti-black disparities in fatal shootings, fatal shootings of unarmed citizens, or fatal shootings involving misidentification of harmless objects… Exposure to police given crime rate differences likely accounts for the higher per capita rate of fatal police shootings for blacks, at least when analyzing all shootings. For unarmed shootings or misidentification shootings, data are too uncertain to be conclusive.”

Two recent studies found cops more reluctant to use deadly force against blacks, including one by a black Harvard economist. Professor Roland G. Fryer Jr. concluded: “On the most extreme use of force — officer-involved shootings — we find no racial differences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are taken into account.”

But aren’t blacks routinely “racially profiled” by cops? Not according to the Police-Public Contact Survey. Produced every three years by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, the survey asks more than 60,000 people about their interactions with the police. It asks respondents’ to provide age, race and gender. It asks them whether they had any contact with the police in the last year; what was the experience like; how were your treated; was there a use of force and so on. Turns out, according to a September 2017 National Review article, black men and white men are about equally likely to have a contact with a cop in a given year. As to multiple contacts, defined as three or more with the police in a given year, 1.5 percent of blacks vs. 1.2 percent of whites fall in that category. Not much difference.

There’s also the National Crime Victimization Survey, which questions victims of crimes, whether or not the criminal was captured, as to the race and ethnicity of the suspect. It turns out that the race of the arrested matches the percentage given by victims. So unless victims are lying about the race of their assailant, unconcerned about whether he gets caught, blacks are not being “overarrested.”

A reasonable discussion about blacks and police practices cannot take place without acknowledging the disproportion amount of crime committed by blacks. According to the Department of Justice’s “Felony Defendants in Large Urban Counties, 2009,” in the country’s 75 largest counties, blacks committed 62 percent of robberies, 45 percent of assaults and accounted for 57 percent of murder defendants.

The No. 1 cause of preventable death for young white men is accidents, such as car accidents. The No. 1 cause of preventable death for young black men is homicide, usually committed by another young black man, not a cop. In 2016, according to the latest data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, 7,881 blacks were killed.

The courageous Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald, who writes extensively about police practice, asked: “Who is killing these black victims? Not whites, and not the police, but other blacks. In 2016, the police fatally shot 233 blacks, the vast majority armed and dangerous. … Contrary to the Black Lives Matter narrative, the police have much more to fear from black males than black males have to fear from the police. In 2015, a police officer was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male was to be killed by a police officer.”

In 2012 in the city of Rialto, California, population approximately 100,000, cops were randomly assigned body cameras based on their shifts. Over the next year, use-of-force incidents on the shifts that had cameras were half the rate of those without cameras. But something rather extraordinary also happened. Complaints against all Rialto police officers with were down almost 90 percent from the prior year.

It turns out when civilians knew they were being recorded, they — not the cops — behaved better and stop making false accusations. The use of force by cops also declined, but, again, not because the police changed their conduct. No, the cops continued performing as they’d been trained. Civilians, aware that they were being taped, were less confrontational and were more likely to cooperate and follow instructions. As a result, cops needed to use force less frequently.

Still, when actor Jesse Williams gave a four-minute rant at the 2016 BET Awards about what he considered racist police practices, he claimed, “What we’ve been doing is looking at the data, and we know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day.”



LarryElderLarry Elder is a bestselling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder.

The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.

Check Also

Star Parker: An Excellent Supreme Court Decision on Homelessness

Homelessness, unfortunately, has become a persistent and growing problem in the United States. The Supreme …


  1. Sad, the true genocide among blacks is not being perpetrated by law enforcement; who’da thunk? Any chance this commentary could be “REQUIRED READING” by ALL those Anthem kneeler & their supporters?

  2. The canard: that police officers target young black males, like the one that the Trump administration and ICE delight in separating families and torturing children, infects not only the gullible in America, but has also influenced the young in Europe. We have a relative who just completed the International Baccalaureate high school program in Geneva, and she is convinced that radical Islamists would forswear violence “if we just treated them nicer,” and that police are gunning for African-American youth. Our major media outlets and quite a few politicians on the left are whipping up hatred and coming dangerously close to fomenting truly catastrophic violence.

    • “if we just treated them nicer,” LOL! Tell your relative that we all were “young and dumb” at one time. Good news is, after you get out of one of these “institutions of INDOCTRINATION,” with just a little work and the use of common sense, you need not remain dumb! Have the relative review how well it worked out for our “Genuflector-in-Chief who thought the same about “treating your enemies nicer!”

    • This is the real problem, and this is my hill to die on! 
We must find a way to reverse the fatherlessness epidemic, 99% of America’s social ills can be greatly mitigated by doing this. Almost any other social remedy is nothing more than a band aid, it doesn’t address the underlying remedy of increasing healthy family units! This problem has been growing rapidly for 50 years and is no simple fix by any means. I have read countless columns on the decay of families, and that is great, but it isn’t going to be fixed by talking about it online. Each of us must be courageous enough to talk to anyone who will listen about how the importance of family is, to the health of everyone and to society! This is where we need statistics. 95% of men in prison are from single parent (mothers) homes, 75% of blacks grow up in single parent homes, 45% of whites grow up in single parent homes, 25 of the last 26 mass shooters were from single parent homes! I don’t know about what you see, but I see a distinct correlation here to fatherlessness. This is the “National Conversation” we should be having!
      Fatherlessness is our true national disgrace!
      There is plenty of blame to be shared for the blight in our inner cities, blacks, whites, conservatives and liberals! But we need to find solutions. The way I see it the first and most logical step is to find a way to restore the nucleus of the family!
Children, boys and girls alike need mothers and fathers to raise them. A large majority of children are being raised by single mothers. Without fathers inner city boys have only some male teachers, maybe a grandfather as positive roll models, and lots of drug dealers, pimps and other assorted criminals as bad but attractive role models as well. Why wouldn’t a boy want to emulate the local gang bangers, they carry a gun, most law abiding people fear them, they have money, jewelry and nice cars.
Many young girls see their mothers without husbands, and learn that is the norm, to accommodate “Her man” only to have him abandon his responsibility to her and their children, and then she must rely on the Government to support them. Just like her mom.
As a result there is no one to teach them the three Rs of life ” Respect, Responsibility and Reliability”. Because their only parent is overwhelmed with just feeding, clothing and praying for them to come home at night.
The Black family is an endangered institution and will fade into oblivion unless we as Americans apply all our hearts and minds to reversing this insanity of subsidizing the fatherless home and find a way to subsidize a two parent household! Find a way to destroy the drug trade! and promote entrepenureism and other capitalistic endeavors to encourage job growth and prosperity to these inner cities that are so horribly afflicted with the liberal government killing them with kindness so long as no man lives there!
The poor in this country are victims of our own governments policies, socialistic policies of selfish politicians who offer just enough money to sustain them, like a carrot on a stick, so they can say see what I do for you and if you re-elect me, I’ll give you even more!
70 years of the war on poverty and most people in the inner cities are even poorer, not because we don’t spend enough money, but because we have lost the importance of FAMILY!

  3. Absolutely right. Sadly, for the past 50 years or so, the elites have been weakening family ties, especially by promoting absolute sexual freedom and every other form of self-indulgence.