Crime

Race and Violent Crime

Do "Black and white people routinely commit crimes at similar rates," if we focus on violent crime? Is "Black-on-Black crime ... a myth"?

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An article by a criminal law professor Thursday in the Columbus Dispatch included this assertion:

The reality is that Black-on-Black crime is a myth, and that Black and white people routinely commit crimes at similar rates, but Black people are overwhelmingly targeted for arrest.

Yet I think this is not the reality, at least as to violent crimes of the sort that are usually labeled "black-on-black" when committed by black criminals against black victims. (Blacks and whites do seem to commit drug possession and drug distribution crimes at relatively similar rates, but in this post I focus on violent crimes.) As best we can tell,

  • blacks appear to commit violent crimes at a substantially higher rate per capita than do whites;
  • there seems to be little aggregate disparity between the rate at which blacks commit violent crimes (especially when one focuses on crimes where the victims say they reported the crimes to the police) and the rate at which blacks are arrested for crimes; and
  • the black-on-black crime rate is especially high.

Of course, it's always hard to measure what the actual crime rate is for any group (whether for purposes of claiming that the rates are similar or that they are different). Still, the most reliable data, to my knowledge, is generally the National Crime Victimization Survey, and the U.S. Justice Department Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that are based on that survey. Indeed, the link in the quoted sentence from the article goes to a source that relies on such data.

Because the NCVS surveys a large group of people about their experiences with crime victimization, it is not based on what is reported to the police and what the police do with it. (The Uniform Crime Reports is based on data from police departments, and is thus generally a less reliable measure of actual crime.) Naturally, there are possible sources of bias in victim reports. But the NCVS seems to be the best data we have, and I know of no better source that yields other results. (If you do know, please let me know.)

Here, then, is the data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics' Race and Ethnicity of Violent Crime Offenders and Arrestees, 2018, with regard to "rape/sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault":

And here is the data for serious nonfatal violent crimes, which excludes simple assaults, and thus focuses on "rape/sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault":

Blacks, which here means non-Hispanic blacks, were 12.5% of the U.S. population, and non-Hispanic whites were 60.4%. It thus appears from this data that the black per capita violent crime rate is roughly 2.3 to 2.8 times the rate for the country as a whole, while the white per capita violent crime rate is roughly 0.7 to 0.9 times the rate for the country as a whole.

It also appears that the arrest rates for violent crime are roughly comparable to the rates of offending, especially if one takes into account those offenses reported to the police (which is a choice of the victims, not of police departments). And the great bulk of such violent crime is intraracial.

The disparity is even more striking for murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, which the NCVS doesn't measure (since the crime victim can't respond to the survey), and which thus relies on the police department reports in the UCR:

When the race of the offender was known, 55.9 percent were Black or African American, 41.1 percent were White, and 3.0 percent were of other races.

Here is the more specific data:

Many homicides are unsolved, and of course there is the risk of race-based investigation and enforcement. But again this is the best data we have, and it's consistent with victim demographics—it's clear that blacks are disproportionately likely to be murder victims—and the broadly accepted view that the overwhelming majority of homicide is intraracial.

Now naturally this reflects just aggregate statistics; the great majority of people in all racial groups don't commit violent crimes, and even the aggregate data may differ from place to place. Moreover, this doesn't tell us about property crimes (other than robbery, which is classified as a violent crime), because it's so hard to approximate the true rates of offense commission there: Most such property crimes are unwitnessed, so it's hard to gather survey data. And again, I'd love to hear any other data that might shed a different light on the violent crime statistics as well.

Still, the best data that I know of suggests that

  • black-on-black violent crime is not a myth;
  • blacks and whites generally commit violent crimes at substantially disparate rates (and, for homicides, sharply disparate rates); and
  • as best we can tell, the disparity in arrest rates for violent crimes is pretty close to the disparity in crimes that are committed, and especially crimes that the victims report to the police.

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  1. Should we take a cue from Democrats and generalize blame over the entire group for the crimes of a few?

    No? Then let’s stop doing that altogether.

    1. Maybe when Democrats stop ignoring facts and just make shit up if it fits their narrative.

      1. It’s cute that you pretend Trump and his legions of fuckwads never existed.

        I guess you must only have one finger to point, eh? I’ve one finger too, just for you and your kind.

        1. Another Kirkland puppet?

    2. The Obama administration hid the race data, making it very difficult to find. Glad it is posted before Biden does the same.

      There is no racial difference in the rate of sociopathy, the mental defect associated with criminality. I can reassure my Black friends.
      The entire disparity in all social pathologies, poverty, unemployment, crime, is explained by the bastardy rate.

      The disparity was small prior to the Sixties. Crime was 10% higher, not 400% higher. Then, African immigrants have lower crime rates than whites. They outperform whites in the 2010 Census.

      I am sorry, but I have to get back to this subject. The black family survived enslavement, the genocidal campaign of the KKK after the Civil War, Jim Crow and horrible discrimination. All were the agenda of the Democrat Party. It did not survive the onslaught of the feminist lawyer in the 1960’s. Families were paid cash to kick out fathers. The bastardy rare is over 70%.

      Before whites get smug, their bastardy rate is rising fast. The same will happen to them as happened to the black family. Why destroy the family? To replace it with government, to foster government dependency and permanent single party power, to enrich a small elite.

      Those top performing African immigrants? Intact patriarchal families. Religious, mostly Christian. Love America. Republican.

      The lawyer profession destroyed the black family. It must be crushed to save this nation. It is 10 times more toxic than organized crime. The Mafia supports the intact patriarchal family.

      1. My compliments to Eugene Volokh for posting an empirical report. This keeps hope alive. If he can be converted to empiricism away from his current supernatural beliefs, he can lead the profession out of the morass of failure it is sinking in.

        1. One can understand all PC as an attack on the patriarchal family. The friendships of homosexuals will never be real marriages. The attack on the self evident biology of gender is to kill family formation. The jihad against abuse is a fake attack on the authority of fathers. The denial of the utter failure of these policies in Democrat jurisdictions is in the media owned by the tech billionaires. They own the Democrat Party, the lawyer profession, and want to enrich themselves at our expense. All Democrat jurisdictions are shitholes even if fabulously wealthy. That is our fate unless they and the lawyer profession can be stopped.

          1. Black men raped 35000 white women. White men raped no black women. A little disparity.

            1. Besides a correlation with bastardy, the crime rate correlates with the number of lawyers. China is imitating us and increasing its number of lawyers. Now, crime is soaring in China. South America has higher crime rates than we do. They are more overlawyered than we are.

              1. It took the Klan 100 years to lynch 4000 black men. The excess murder rate is 4000 murders of black men a year. The Democrat, feminist lawyer that destroyed the black family is 100 times more lethal to black males than the Klan ever was. And now, the Biden DOJ will rampage through our cities with Draconian police consent decrees, and Baltimore all of them. There, the police responds to a 911 call, takes a report, files it. Period. It does nothing else to avoid violating the lawyer imposed decrees. Result? Massive surges in murder of black men, on top of the outrageous number before the decrees.

                1. Excuse me, Democrats, and idiot Republicans voting for the Asian Hate Bill. Asians are the least victimized group of all, less violently victimized than whites.

            2. So just lying about things to create your narrative? Par for the course for you.

                1. No, it isn’t. Name the chart you think it’s in.

            3. I sincerely doubt your statement about rape is true.

  2. Now do a crime breakdown by religion.

    1. I thought that was an interesting question, and read through the first page’s worth of sources from a search. Wikipedia gives a reasonable summary.

      On whether the carrot or stick works best it says “A 2012 study suggested that belief in hell decreases crime rates, while belief in heaven increases them…”

      And for the atheists “there is some evidence self-identified atheists have had significantly lower incarceration rates than the general public in the United States”. n.b. it isn’t saying whether atheists commit fewer crimes, or are better at not getting caught :-).

      OTOH: “An individual with high religious saliency (i.e. expressing the high importance of religion in their life) is less likely to be associated with criminal activities; similarly, an individual who regularly attends religious services or is highly involved in them tends to be less involved in criminality, with the exception of property damage.”

      1. No, break it down by Jewish/Christian versus Muslim/Black Muslim.

        NB: MiddleEastern Muslims do not consider Black Muslims to be “real” Muslims for a variety of reasons starting with the fact that they don’t know Arabic. Apparently the Koran is not permitted to be translated into any other language. Hence my distinction.

        1. Similar to a lot of mainline christian feels ngs towards Mormons.

          1. You said mainline, but you mean mainstream—i.e., Nicene—Christianity.

            “Mainline” generally refers (in Christianity) to the older American Protestant denominations that are more theologically liberal and rapidly losing members to the younger, more theologically conservative evangelical Protestants.

            Some Mormons (e.g., the RLDS) are Nicene Christians, but the main LDS church is not, and therefore is not Christian.

      2. “A belief in hell decreases crime rates, while belief in heaven increases them.” So in other words, a person who believes in heaven is more likely to commit crimes than someone who does not? I’m not sure if that’s what I would have expected; on the one hand, if you believe in heaven, you might want to behave well so you can go there; on the other hand, if you believe in heaven, you might also believe that all you have to do is ask God to forgive you and everything will be OK. So I could see that one cutting in both directions.

        There is a wonderful old joke about the farmer who went to confession. “Father, I have sinned; I stole a load of hay from my neighbor.” “When did you do this, my son?” “Actually, Father, I only took half of it, but I’m going back tonight to get the other half, so I thought I’d save a trip here by confessing to both of them.”

        1. I could be way off, but I think a good number of people who believe in heaven also believe in the ability to repent and be granted forgiveness for transgressions. It is also conceivable that those same people who derive their morals from religion and said religion also has forgiveness as a major tenant, there is less incentive to hold to those morals. Essentially you are subconsciously given permission to act against your morals.

          I want to stress this is simply postulating a reason for that result, it is not arguing that it is at all accurate to reality.

        2. I wonder if they included people incarcerated who found religion after they were put in jail.

          1. I don’t think there are actually enough of those to alter the statistics, unless they had a really skewed sample.

            1. I imagine there is a bit of a surge in getting religion round about parole board time.

        3. “Hey, you were caught and convicted of a crime. Do you believe in Heaven?”

          “YES YES YES I DOOOOO!!!”

      3. Actually if you look at political association and crime, the results are interesting.

        https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0191886916310996?via%3Dihub

        1. The Democrat Party is the party of the lawyer, of big government, and of crime.

        2. AL,
          Thanks for the citation. I’ve downloaded the paper

            1. Let us know what’s in it, it’s paywalled.

      4. Atheists’ are likely to be better educated people who thus are more likely to have good paying jobs and are economically better off. They are therefore less likely to commit property crimes associated with poverty. Atheist also are likely to have develop strong moral values from humanist philosophers. The believer may avoids sin because of persevered punishments in the afterlife. The non-believer avoids sin because they know it is the right things to do.

        1. “Atheists’ are”….

          Failure to cite evidence to support arguments.

        2. Atheists killed 100 million people to impose their failed big government philosophy. They failed to persuade.

          1. Yup. The nation that went to space and said goda nyet could barely feed itself.

            1. Do you seriously think a Soviet Union run by libertarian atheists would have looked the same? If not, then maybe the problem was their communism, not their atheism.

              By the way, Hitler was Catholic.

              1. Nonsense.

                Hitler’s *mother* was Catholic. His father was not. Once he left home, he himself did not attend mass, take the sacraments, or in any way practice Christianity. He privately considered all Christianity weak, “flabby,” unmuscular, too peace-loving, inimical to nationalism, etc., and planned to eliminate it, but felt he had to solidify power and finish off all his other enemies first.

                1. According to church doctrine, once Catholic, always Catholic, so Hitler’s preferences were irrelevant. Now, maybe you can respond to my larger point about Stalin’s problem being communism rather than simple atheism?

                  1. CATHOLIC doctrine may hold that, but I assure you that Protestant doesn’t.

                    And Hitler was into the occult…

                  2. Now, maybe you can respond to my larger point about Stalin’s problem being communism rather than simple atheism?

                    In Stalin’s case there seems to have been a fairly direct line from atheism to communism. He went to a seminary, persuaded himself that God didn’t exist (courtesy of the Origin of Species) , quit the seminary before graduation, and pretty much immediately became a revolutionary and bank robber. There was no libertarian atheist phase.

              2. You don’t think their communism and their atheisms were related?

                1. No. Most atheists are not communists. Just as most Catholics don’t go around burning people at the stake, though historically some did.

                  The bottom line is that a Soviet Union run by libertarian atheists, or neo-con atheists, or Swedish style social democrat atheists, would have looked very different.

              3. The Nazi’s were pagan if anything. Look at the Hitler Youth songs.

        3. “The non-believer avoids sin because they know it is the right things to do.”

          How do they know?

          1. Oh, the same way we know not to jump off cliffs. If you seriously cannot figure out for yourself that some behaviors should be avoided then maybe the problem is you.

            1. OK, but how do you know not to throw other people off cliffs?

              1. “Hey, 12 inch, is it ok to throw other people off cliffs?” “Oh gee, I have no idea, I’ll have to ask God.”

                Because spend a few minutes thinking through what it would be like to live in a society in which throwing people off cliffs is acceptable behavior. Would you like to live in such a society? Me neither.

                1. “Because spend a few minutes thinking through what it would be like to live in a society in which throwing people off cliffs is acceptable behavior. Would you like to live in such a society?”

                  It depends.
                  ““Hey, 12 inch, is it ok to throw other people off cliffs?” “Oh gee, I have no idea, I’ll have to ask God.””

                  I don’t believe in God. I don’t throw other people of cliffs because I have a fundamental moral belief, that is unfalsifiable, that it’s wrong. (Also due to fear of legal consequences.)

                  But I’m pretty sure my reasons are very similar to why religious people don’t throw people off cliffs.

                  1. Sorry, my last response was snarkier than it needed to be.

                    I don’t think it’s that difficult an inquiry. People do ethics and morality because it’s in our nature, and because we evolved to live in community, which in turn requires that certain behaviors be encouraged and others be suppressed. Other animals do tribal morality too; they just don’t have the brainpower to understand that’s what they’re doing.

                    So think about what kind of society you want to live in. Chances are it’s the same society most other people want to live in too.

                    1. Tribal morality – in chimps as well as humans – can involve a lot of slaughtering of non tribe members. While I’m open to the idea that there’s some evolutionary aspect to human moral feeling, a glance at human history suggests that the content of that “natural” moral feeling is not quite co-extensive with the Bill of Rights.

                  2. I would point out that some human societies did similar things for example supposedly for an ancient Spartan to become a citizen he had to kill a helot.

                2. The Kant is strong with this one.

      5. A single study claims a belief in heaven increases crime rates? I call BS.

        First, you’ve heard of the replication crisis, right?

        Second, atheists are rich & white & males, not exactly a prime cohort for crime. Go to any atheist meeting & it’s like a 1950s golf club. Atheists aren’t particularly law abiding; they’re just rich white males, so it’s those variables (rather than religiosity or lack thereof) that’s driving the difference, if any.

  3. That statement seems pretty spicy for my taste, but your stats are a bit orthogonal to what it’s saying.

    There’s plenty of confounding factors. Class, location, previous criminality all spring to mind.

    Your correlation seems pretty meaningless re: race as a factor until you control for such things.

    1. EXCEPT THAT those who demand statistical equality of outcome (i.e. arrests & convictions) fail to do so — hence the need to disprove their presumptions using *their* data.

      If you adjust for the difference in the illegitimacy rate, almost all Black/White differences (including poverty) disappear. But we’re not allowed to say that.

      1. 30+ years ago, a senior teacher took that day’s detention list and pointed out that almost every one of the children on it came from a “broken home.” And this was in what then was an all-White school.

        1. You know what doesn’t sound like science?

          That.

          Assuming it’s true.

          1. Ever hear of “Qualitative Research”?

            1. The anecdote you provided is not an example of qualitative research, from what I can tell. The supposed senior teacher was looking at a sample of students in detention and making an observation about what percentage of them them came from “broken” homes. That is a quantitative observation.

              1. He was attempting to make a point, and he’d taken a list that he’d never seen before — it had just arrived and he went down it as he was reading it, using his red pen to check off every student who had come from a broken home.

                That’s genuine qualitative research — and the reliability issue is if it would be duplicated on other days at that school, as well as at other schools. I have every reason to believe that it would.

                After all, this was a list that he’d never seen before.

      2. Who demands statistical equality of outcome?

        Illegitimacy rate is also not a proven causal factor.

        1. Sacastro doesnt like data that conflicts with his belief in his preferred narrative

          1. I don’t like people confusing correlation for causation. Leads to eugenics.

            1. Huh? In reply to the assertion that family breakdown, not race, causes or leads to violent crime you oppose that explanation.

              The only one arguing eugenics is Sarcastr0.

            2. “Sacastro doesnt like data that conflicts with his belief in his preferred narrative.”

              “I don’t like people confusing correlation for causation. Leads to eugenics.”

              He’s in good company. Virtually every practicing sociologist won’t go anywhere near data that implicates race as a causal factor in anything (other than being an oppressed victim) because it might lead to undesirable results.

              1. He’s in good company. Virtually every practicing sociologist won’t go anywhere near data that implicates race as a causal factor . . .

                That’s not “good company”.

                It may be popular company —a clique or incrowd— but a group that deliberately obscures science or facts isn’t good in any normal sense of the word.

    2. Sarcastr0: I thought my statistics are directly responsive to what the Columpus Dispatch article was saying: “The reality is that [1] Black-on-Black crime is a myth, and that [2] Black and white people routinely commit crimes at similar rates, but [3] Black people are overwhelmingly targeted for arrest.”

      Now the causes (or even correlates) of the disparities in crime commission rates are an interesting and important question — but I don’t focus on that here, partly because the article doesn’t focus on that.

      1. Ohio isn’t *that* far from Illinois — you’d think they’d notice the body count in Chicago…

        1. Columbus is working very to become Chicago!

          1. Very hard, even … 😐

            1. They can’t all be West Virginia, Mississippi, Wyoming, Alabama, or Oklahoma.

              1. That is really a racist remark, Artie. Those are black population states. You need to apologize for your racism and marginalization of a long oppressed minority. You need to attend a white fragility course.

                1. West Virginia is 3.4 percent Black. Wyoming is 1.6 percent Black. Oklahoma is 7.4 percent Black (twice as many Germans as Blacks).

                  Other than that, though, great comment!

                  1. Those are all great places to live in. You can live much better, less stressed on $100,000 a year than on $10 million a year in NYC or on San Fran. You can attend the Honors Programs of their state universities and get a research education for free superior to that in any Ivy League school. You can publish as a young age because life is easier.

                    When people mention under performing states, they are speaking in code for states with large black populations. They are racist.

                    1. Hmm. Where in W Virginia can you get a free Physics Ph.D. (or even B.S.) superior to those at Harvard, and by what metric?

      2. I believe what they are arguing is that other factors are the salient ones to look at. And if you do, then blacks and whites commit crimes at the same rates.

        Which has some support re: class, at least. But I will admit I can’t be sure about other factors.

        I do agree that being targeted for arrest needs to be controlled for other factors as well – you can’t use the existence of confounding variables as both a sword and a shield.

        1. Sarcastr0: “Other factors are the salient ones to look at,” “and if you do, then blacks and whites commit crimes at the same rates” is indeed a different argument. But that’s not what that portion of the article was saying, it seems to me.

          1. I interpret it that way largely because your reading seems to reach an absurd result.

            1. Which absurd result is that?

              That there really IS more black on black crime?

              1. Starting with gang bodycounts…

              2. The absurd result is the interpretation Prof. Volokh gave to the Columbus Dispatch report, as though they were saying the absolute rates do not exist.

            2. I’m with Sarcastro here. As Eugene notes, the author was aware of the stats Eugene uses to “disprove” the assertion the author made. Therefore, as Sarcastro points out, the most reasonable interpretation of the statement is that, controlling for factors such as class, geography, etc., there is not a significant difference.

              Now, I don’t know for certain that is true (or isn’t). But it seems an honest counterargument would engage with that reasonable interpretation of the argument, rather than knock down a straw man as Eugene has done.

              And just looking at the stats Eugene has cited, doesn’t it at least raise questions that crimes with white perpetrators seem much less likely to be reported to the police? Why would that be? Of course, rather than address that, he just rushes to point out that the arrest rate for reported crimes is similar to the rate of offense. But 52.2%/45.9% white offenders/arrests versus 28.9%/33.0% black offenders/arrests is a pretty stark difference.

              1. “And just looking at the stats Eugene has cited, doesn’t it at least raise questions that crimes with white perpetrators seem much less likely to be reported to the police?”

                So, there are a non-trivial amount of murders by white perps that aren’t being reported?

                “As Eugene notes, the author was aware of the stats Eugene uses to “disprove” the assertion the author made.”

                I’m not seeing that part. Is that referring to where the author links to the SPLC study that directly contradicts what the author is saying?

                1. “So, there are a non-trivial amount of murders by white perps that aren’t being reported?”

                  Eugene only posted three charts, I think. And two were for non-fatal violent offenses. It really didn’t take that much effort to see the numbers I cited were from one of the two charts involving non-fatal violent offenses.

                  “Is that referring to where the author links to the SPLC study that directly contradicts what the author is saying?”

                  Well, if he cites a study showing the white-on-white crime rate is 12.0 per 1,000 and the black-on-black crime rate is 16.5 per 1,000, then presumably he is aware of those statistics. Or that 57 percent of crime against white victims is by white perpetrators and 63 percent of crime against black victims is by black perpetrators. (The statistics in the cited article.) Therefore, you have two choice. First, you can uncharitably assume the author couldn’t or didn’t read the linked-to article. This is not a standard method of interpreting other people’s writing. Or, you could be more charitable, and assume he is arguing that these differences are not very high and, such as they are, would likely be explained by factors other than race (socio-economic, etc.). On the second take, claiming “black on black” crime is a more serious (or fundamentally different) thing than “white on white” crime is just a lie that was created to perpetrate the stereotype (expressed elsewhere in this thread by the usual suspects) that race is causally linked to criminality. And he provided ample support via the link for that assertion.

                  Could he have made the point more precisely and with greater nuance? Sure. But Eugene picked one sentence to nitpick. Given it was a single sentence in an article primarily dealing with other aspects of the issue and he’s providing a link which provides much more nuance, I think Eugene’s criticism is extraordinarily uncharitable to the author.

                  It’s almost like Eugene has his own black-on-black crime narrative to push.

                  1. That’s very uncharitable towards Prof. Volokh. He didn’t choose one line to nitpick, he took a key, central point of the op-ed that is directly and unequivocally contradicted by the source the author cites and refuted it. The author is wrong! He is lying to construct a narrative to support his position, which is that policing should be abolished. Holy cow, what are you thinking?

                    1. I don’t agree with the author’s conclusion: “should familiarize themselves with abolition as an urgent and needed solution”. Just to be clear.

                      But it remains a fact that the single sentence in his article is not best, most reasonably, or most charitably interpreted as Eugene did. Again, precisely because the very evidence the author cites is, basically, the evidence Eugene uses to “refute” the point. If you read his citation, the cite makes the point that arguments about Black-on-Black crime are generally cover for ignoring the actual causes of crime, the actual causes of disproportionate arrests and incarcerations, and, often, for overtly white supremacist narratives about criminality among Black Americans.

                      Eugene ignores that to, essentially, point out that most crime is intraracial rather than interracial (a point made by the article cited by the author) and Black Americans are accused (NCVS) and convicted of crimes more often than White Americans, just looking at top-line stats, which no one disputes. At least, given the article cited to included those very top-line stats, it is simply not a reasonable interpretation of the article.

                      Which all raises the question of why Eugene chose that sentence to highlight and “refute.”

                      That an author’s conclusion is radical and you disagree with it is not a good reason to misrepresent the argument and facts being made. Quite the opposite actually.

                  2. EV shouldn’t have to construct arguments for the other author. If the other author really meant something like ‘whites and blacks commit crime at similar rates once you account for x,y,z’, why didn’t he *say that*, and *where’s the data and analysis which accounts for x,y,z*?

                    1. The author cited to a fairly lengthy article about the underlying issues he was raising, so if you at first find the sentence objectionable, it is incumbent upon you to read the citation that supports the sentence. Then, the proper response, if you think the sentence was unclear, is to say the sentence was unclear rather than misconstruing the pretty obvious intent of the author.

                      That’s the kind of thing Eugene posts about: unclear writing.

                      Instead, he embraced an interpretation at odds with the citation and wrote about Black-on-Black crime and, then, omitted but for a brief parenthetical, the fact that Black and White Americans commit drug offenses at the same rate but Black Americans are arrested, convicted, and incarcerated at disproportionate rates for those offenses. Why would he do that if his true interest was addressing the author’s point about systemic racism in policing and criminal justice? The most damning indictment of the criminal justice system is precisely that for a non-violent offense which is committed equally by White and Black Americans, Black Americans are far more often arrested, convicted, and sent to prison. (Which has resulted and continues to result in untold devastation to Black families and communities across the nation in terms of stability, financial resources, mental health, etc., etc.)

                      Eugene specifically chose to ignore that. Instead, he posted stats pushing a narrative all too often abused by white supremacists.

                      I think Eugene made a mistake.

              2. “As Eugene notes, the author was aware of the stats Eugene uses to “disprove” the assertion the author made. Therefore, as Sarcastro points out, the most reasonable interpretation of the statement is that, controlling for factors such as class, geography, etc., there is not a significant difference.”

                Except that that doesn’t mesh with the context:

                “In 2018 alone, 55% of incidents involving use of force by Columbus police targeted Black people, despite Black Columbus residents making up less than 29% of the population…. [Some] might claim that the victims being disproportionately Black and Latinx is further evidence that these racial groups commit far more crimes than white people…
                The reality is that Black-on-Black crime is a myth, and that Black and white people routinely commit crimes at similar rates, but Black people are overwhelmingly targeted for arrest.”

                He’s not controlling for these factors anywhere else.

                1. Eugene ignores drug offenses and the disproportionate enforcement of drug laws, which changes the stats dramatically and, see Breonna Taylor, has a definite impact on how often Black Americans interact with the police.

                  The 55% vs 29% does not mesh with Eugene’s stats and he didn’t choose that sentence to deconstruct. To “refute” that, he would have to show that police interactions that result in use of force are directed correlated to crime and that crimes are disproportionately committed by Black Columbus residents such that, despite being 29% of the population, 55% of crimes are committed by residents of Columbus who are Black.

                  But, as a general principle, absolutely the same factors should be accounted for when comparing stats.

        2. Playing the numbers, the number of murders in a FBI 2018 report was 3315 whites, 2925 blacks, 220 other race, 110 unknown race.

          As the majority of those killed of a race are by others of the same it pretty much shows in just murder alone the rates are no where near the same.

          Using that same report whites were the murderers in 3011 cases and blacks 3177.

        3. I believe what they are arguing is that other factors are the salient ones to look at. And if you do, then blacks and whites commit crimes at the same rates.

          And if you control for age, height, genetics, exercise, and eating habits, all humans weigh the same. But such angel pinhead dancing means little in the real world. The actual additional pounds and actual additional crimes still cause actual societal harm.

          1. Based on your analogy with a bunch of causal factors to weight, you seem to be going further than Prof. Volokh and arguing that correlation with race implies causation with race.

            You can’t mean that, can you?

            1. Proof positive that it’s impossible to underestimate your capacity to flail around for fresh lilypads when the one you’re on is sinking.

              My analogy and my point behind that analogy were clearly stated; address them if you like. As usual, I’ll not hold my breath.

              1. I explained why I interpreted your analogy the way I did – it has only factors that are causally corelated to weight.

                If that’s the same as race, then you think black::crime is the same as height::weight.

                Which is pretty screwed up.

            2. “…arguing that correlation with race implies causation with race.

              You can’t mean that, can you?”

              Why not?

              1. You’d have to look to see what kind of correlation you saw after you controlled for things like location, or economic status.

                My impression is that blacks disproportionately live in very high crime areas, but that whites in those areas, though a minority, have about the same crime rate.

                The “war on poverty” did vast cultural damage, and blacks were particularly badly placed in regards to it, and took much of that damage. But it’s culture driving this, not race.

                1. Well, you have to be careful, because race is a potential cause of things like location or economic status as well.

                  “But it’s culture driving this, not race.”

                  To be clear, I’m assuming we’re talking about race as a social construct. And it’s certainly plausible that identifying as a particular race and being perceived as a particular race can be a cause of all sorts of things.

              2. It does not correlate with race. Very dark African immigrants have lower rates of crime than whites. It correlates with bastardy and Democrat government dependence.

                It correlates with the number of lawyers in the jurisdictions. As China is increasing its number of lawyers, its crime rate is soaring.

              3. Why not? Because saying being black makes you more criminal is unproven, and also racist as hell, dude.

                1. It’s certainly unproven, but you can think of a number of mechanisms by which being perceived as black, or even identifying as black, can cause criminality.

                  And facts are facts, whether racist or not.

                  1. Do you know what causation means?

                    1. Yes.

        4. No…

          See, the issue is, they always look at the African American arrest rate and incarceration rate as “too high.” The issue is, African Americans really are committing crimes at higher rates than other ethnicities (like Asians). So, they should have a higher arrest rate.

          Now, your hypothetical is that there are “other factors” like “class, location, previous criminality” that should be looked at instead. But even if you look at that, the end result will be those factors line up correlating with race, and it’s the same end result.

          1. The larger issue is that the officer who developed the concept of racial profiling — a state trooper or something in one of the Carolinas — had a lot more than just race. It was a specific tag (NY or NJ), a specific hour, a largely specific type of vehicle and a bunch more, including not having a girlfriend with you — which most guys going down to Florida would have…

            The guy was right, this was the statistical profile of the drug courier running drugs from Miami to NYC. The only problem with this was the innocent people who weren’t couriers.

            But the guy WAS right….

            1. It’s like the Maine State Police and Moose — if it’s a guy with his girlfriend or wife, particularly if there are children asleep in the back seat, you caution him about the alligators in the drainage ditches and tell him that if he runs off the road, tou get everyone back onto the road and wait for help. And maybe ask him what he saw in Florida because you are considering taking your kids down there when you can both afford it and get the time off.

              But if it is a single male driving north, well that’s suspicious.

    3. “re: race as a factor”

      I wouldn’t say biological “race” is a “factor” at all. I am not aware of any criminal gene which affects one race more than another, which I would suppose would be what race-as-a-factor would mean.

      I think the “culture” explanation has yet to be refuted, though that idea is ground between the upper and nether millstones of critical race theory on one hand and crude biologist racism on the other.

      1. Not refuted, but rather culture as a cause has never been established, since causality re: race has not been established.

        1. Racial causality would refute cultural causality, wouldn’t it?

          Racial correlation would be consistent with cultural causation, though, if the races just had signficant cultural differences on average.

          You’d want to look at what the numbers were for whites and blacks who were culturally the same, on account of being long time residents, but minorities, in a given area. How do whites in urban ghettos compare to blacks there? How do suburban whites and blacks compare?

          Like I said above, control for income and location.

          1. It certainly makes sense to control for income and location, but I’m not sure it tells us much.

            Avoid high crime areas?

            What EV’s stats are telling us is what is happening, not why. What it does refute is the argument in the article that Blacks are arrested and convicted at disparate rates because of racism. That might be a factor, but the main factor is that Blacks commit crimes at higher rates than whites, which leads to higher rates of interaction with the police.

            1. Of course, this narrative avoids the unpleasant truth, admitted by Eugene, that white and black people commit drug offenses at roughly the same rate.

              Eugene’s own words: Blacks and whites do seem to commit drug possession and drug distribution crimes at relatively similar rates, but in this post I focus on violent crimes.

              And, what Eugene doesn’t mention is that roughly half of federal prisoners are in for drug offenses. (For example, in September 2016, 47% of federal prisoners were convicted of a drug offense. Or a prison policy dot org chart show 2020 chart with 100,000 out of 226,000 federal inmates convicted of drug offenses. Or Bureau of Prisons data updated April 2021 showing 46.4% of federal inmates were convicted of a drug offense.) Further, we know that the 38% of federal inmates are black while 57.6% are white. (Bureau of Prisons data).

              This very nearly excludes the possibility that you are correct that “the main factor is that Blacks commit crimes at higher rates than whites, which leads to higher rates of interaction with the police.” Given Eugene excludes a major category of crime that leads to incarceration, his statistics cannot “refute” anything regarding assertions about disparate arrests and convictions of black Americans.

              (And, one wonders, how many of these assaults are assaults against police officers? These crimes (assuming we can believe the police in these situations) don’t lead to interactions with the police but are the result of interactions with the police. And this is just wild speculation, but the point is that there are many factors you have to consider before you have “refuted” the idea that black communities are subjected to a disproportionate number of arrests and convictions for reasons related to racism and/or systemic injustice.)

              Just throwing out stats based on race without controlling for other factors (urban/rural, poverty status, etc.) is, frankly, irresponsible if it was intended to refute the assertion that there is systemic racism in the justice system.

              1. Comparing the racial percentage of federal prisoners to the prison population as a whole doesn’t tell you a lot, there are ‘only’ 225k federal prisoners, compared to 1.3m State prisoners, and another 665k in local jails, and the class of federal crimes is going to get a different population than state crimes.

                So I’d say any data about the racial makeup of Federal prisons is going to be at most a footnote discussing the overall crime rate in terms of types of crimes and the racial makeup of the prison population.

                1. And the data shows that drug offenders incarcerated in state prisons are also disproportionately black. I don’t think it is really much in dispute that offense rates are not substantially different by race, but arrests, convictions, and incarceration most certainly are.

                  Eugene basically admits this, while leaving out the latter part, but the stats on who is in prison (state or federal) make the latter an inevitable conclusion if you accept the premise, as Eugene rightly did, that offense rates are the same for drug crimes.

              2. “Of course, this narrative avoids the unpleasant truth, admitted by Eugene, that white and black people commit drug offenses at roughly the same rate.”

                I don’t particularly care about drug offenses, though, because I don’t think they should be illegal in the first place. I care about violent crime, and property crime, because those SHOULD be illegal.

                And, getting back to the original topic, shouldn’t non-violent crimes, ideally, lead to different sorts of interactions with police? And wouldn’t you expect people who are committing violent crimes to interact differently with the police, perhaps violently?

                So, to the extent we’re concerned about violent police interactions, non-violent, victimless crimes perhaps aren’t that relevant.

                1. Breonna Taylor.

      2. “I wouldn’t say biological “race” is a “factor” at all.”

        As a bit of a tangent, “race” isn’t even well defined, in terms of biology. When people are talking about race, it is mainly as a social construct and how people perceive each other, not as something grounded even primarily in biology.

        I love this sketch about “mixed race” issues.

    4. “There’s plenty of confounding factors. Class, location, previous criminality all spring to mind.”

      It’s not clear to what extent those are confounding factors. You have to be clearer about what you’re trying to measure.

    5. Snarcastro, take a nap, and then watch Ben Shapiro for corroboration (but not for your corner):

      https://youtu.be/e7uUbElygf0

    6. S_0.
      What you point out is a persistent problem with sociological statistics. As potentially relevant variables factors cannot be controlled as in an experiment in the physical or even biological sciences. The resort is to “control” for a variety of characteristics often until the researcher obtains results that fit with his/her (hir) political perspectives

      1. Agreed. Which is why Prof Volokh’s correlation is not useful, and why I think the article couldn’t have been talking about mere correlation.

        People who say they have the cause completely figured out are fooling themselves. The main folks I see here doing that are the usual suspects.

        Marriage or illegitimacy has been pretty conclusively proven to be a lagging factor to class and education, not causal, for instance.

        1. “Which is why Prof Volokh’s correlation is not useful, and why I think the article couldn’t have been talking about mere correlation.”

          What’s this correlation you are talking about? The article made a simple factual claim: “The reality is that Black-on-Black crime is a myth, and that Black and white people routinely commit crimes at similar rates, but Black people are overwhelmingly targeted for arrest.”

          EV presents data disagreeing with that factual claim. That’s pretty straightforward. Even the sources the author links disagree with the author’s own claims.

          1. The author cited an article showing that black on black crime occurs at a rate similar to that for white on white crime (in terms of percent of crimes against people of a particular race by other people of the same race). I’m pretty sure that was his point given that’s what his stats said

            Consequently, the authors point wasn’t that there is no such thing as black on black crime or that crime, generally, is not intra-race. Given our socially and, often, geographically racially-segregated country and given people tend to commit crimes against either people they know or people in their neighborhood, well. Yeah, race-X on race-X crime is a thing, but tells you very little other than that we are a country that tends to be segregated by race.

            1. To say there is no black on black crime problem may actually and surprisingly be true. In the Trump era statistics changed dramatically to the better the likelyhood of being a black victim of violent crime was not only reduced significantly, it was reversed:
              Year White Black Diff
              2007 26.8 34.9 8.1
              2008 25.9 28.5 2.6
              2009 21.5 30.6 9.1
              2010 18.3 25.9 7.6
              2011 21.6 26.4 4.8
              2012 25.2 34.2 9
              2013 22.2 25.1 2.9
              2014 20.3 22.5 2.2
              2015 17.4 22.6 5.2
              2016 19.6 22.3 2.7
              2017 20.8 21.8 1
              2018 24.7 20.4 -4.3
              2019 21.0 18.7 -2.3

              I know my table formatting is going to hell as soon as I hit submit, but…

              The stats are from the BJS Violent Victimization by Race or Ethnicity,2005-2019, but they excluded 2006 for some reason so I dropped 2005 too.

            2. You say “Yeah, race-X on race-X crime is a thing”, but the article says “Black-on-Black crime is a myth”. Who is right?

              1. To not understand that both can be right shows you misunderstand this whole discussion.

                Regardless of whether he was right, what is indisputable is the author was making the point that “Black-on-Black” crime is basically just a stereotyped label for the fact that most crime is intra-racial (i.e., race-X on race-X). Thus, he says Black-on-Black crime is a myth in that it is not some sort of special problem of Black America. (And cites an article discussing similar stats for White-on-White crime, making the point more clearly.)

                In short, as sold to the public, “Black-on-Black crime” is a myth partly, if not entirely, because “race-X on race-X crime” is the actual thing.

        2. “Marriage or illegitimacy has been pretty conclusively proven to be a lagging factor to class and education, not causal, for instance.”

          Citation? Should be easy, since it’s pretty conclusively proven. Is it a consensus?

    7. People have, many times tried to prove that it is poverty. I have not seen any of them successfully do so. Most the evidence I’ve seen shows middle and upper class populations also having criminal disparities.

      1. Controlling for class sure brings the strength of the correlation down, from what I’ve seen. I’m not arguing it’s the only confounding factor.

        1. Sure, but that is strong evidence that the causality is the other direction: Poverty is caused by crime. Or at least some third confounder that also causes crime.

          1. Poverty is caused by crime

            I don’t think that’s right at all. Perhaps lack of class mobility is caused by crime, but what is this strong evidence you cite that crime is the leading factor, and crime the following?

          2. Sometimes causality runs both ways, and those are the worst cases.

  4. This is leading to what we already have in K-12 suspensions — a mandate that punishment reflect racial demographics.

    B. Hussain Obama gave us the latter a decade ago and it had led to a total breakdown of discipline in many schools. It’s rarely mentioned outside the profession, but compliance with this mandate is accomplished by having a dual standard for what is suspendable.

    And like many other bad things that started in academia, the push is to infect the larger society with this bad idea.

    1. “Pipeline to prison” is the term for ignoring the violence of Black students. “Children” like the 16-year-old who tried to disembowel another in the recent video.

  5. Much of what drives the policing of blacks in America is decisions based on anecdotal experience by cops. Probably, if polled, cops would overstate the probability of crime by race to say 5 times more likely to be committed by blacks instead of the 2-3 times.
    If faced with a black suspect, the cop ‘knows’ the person in front of him is more likely to be guilty. He acts accordingly, even though the person is probably innocent.

    1. Look at the racial demographics of cop killers sometime…

    2. No way on earth. You’re trying really hard to twist yourself into knots to keep to a narrative you want to believe. If you ever ride in a squad car for an 8 hour shift, afterwards one of 2 things would happen: either your change your mind about this, or your head would explode from the cognitive dissonance.

    3. Whole lot of “supposin” going on in this comment

  6. I was interviewed for NCVS about 20 years ago. I got a call every six months or so for a couple years. This was back when people answered their landline phones. No, I have not been murdered in the past six months, thanks for asking.

    I can think of biases in NCVS but for minor crimes they are probably weaker than biases in police reports. I told the feds about the packages stolen from the lobby of my building which I never bothered to report to the police. The purpose of reporting property crime to police is to complete the paperwork for an insurance claim. I did not make insurance claims for lost packages.

    I think some of the questions asked if I knew somebody who was the victim, or belonged to the same household as the victim. The murder question would not be stupid if reworded as “anyone you know” instead of “you or anyone you now.” But asking about victimization of others introduces a reporting bias.

  7. The source that the quoted article links for “The reality is that Black-on-Black crime is a myth” is an SPLC article … that actually says the opposite: “Black crime victims fell along similar racial lines, with 63 percent of the crimes committed by black perpetrators…”. The SPLC article is arguing against the notion that there is a disproportionate amount of white-on-black crime by saying that, in general, most crime is X-on-X crime, whether X=white or X=black. I’m not sure if the claim in the quoted article is a typo or just in keeping with the quoted article’s general tone of detachment from reality.

    For example, the headline is “Ma’Khia Bryant, George Floyd point to why police should be abolished now”. I read the article to see what he proposed doing after the police are abolished, but I didn’t see an alternative proposed. Having a modern urban society without any policing function at all seems likely to end up in an unpleasant state of self-help crime fighting. Historically, systems like that are likely to result in much harsher justice than the current system.

    1. Morris Dees should be disbarred…

    2. “after the police are abolished”
      to any rational person that proposal is a prescription for distopia

      1. Now now, let the 50 states experiment.

        Both sides agree…when it supports their pet ideas. Fed clampdown if not!

  8. “A belief in hell decreases crime rates, while belief in heaven increases them.” So in other words, a person who believes in heaven is more likely to commit crimes than someone who does not? I’m not sure if that’s what I would have expected; on the one hand, if you believe in heaven, you might want to behave well so you can go there; on the other hand, if you believe in heaven, you might also believe that all you have to do is ask God to forgive you and everything will be OK. So I could see that one cutting in both directions.

    There is a wonderful old joke about the farmer who went to confession. “Father, I have sinned; I stole a load of hay from my neighbor.” “When did you do this, my son?” “Actually, Father, I only took half of it, but I’m going back tonight to get the other half, so I thought I’d save a trip here by confessing to both of them.”

    1. Sorry, not sure how that comment posted twice; it was intended to be in response to Absaroka above.

      1. If you post, and are told to log in, and you do, it dumps you back into your edit form. Unfortunately it has forgotten the message you were replying to, and you stupidly click post, and it goes to the top level.

  9. This could constitute the launch of a quite interesting series.

    Next could be an examination of the prevalence of racism (or xenophobia) by political party affiliation. Are Republicans genuinely more bigoted than Democrats (and non-partisans, and Greens, etc.), or is that a myth peddled by the mainstream media?

    After that, a breakdown of gay-bashing bigotry (or misogyny) by religion. Are people who claim to be superstitious really more likely to be old-timey gay-bashers, or is that a damnable tale advanced by the liberals?

    Or will we see none of that at this blog, because ‘clingers got your tongue?’

    1. Which groups are more likely to support attacks on women’s sports, discrimination against Asians, and lenient treatment of criminals who attack gay people?

      1. Do the knuckle-dragging right-wingers genuinely believe they can regain competitiveness in the culture war with that level of argument?

        You guys deserve everything that the liberal-libertarian mainstream will impose on you.

        1. Just admit you can’t address the argument. Quit hiding behind snark.

          1. My argument is that education will and should prevail against ignorance in America.

            That reason will and should prevail against superstition.

            That inclusiveness will and should prevail against insularity.

            That science will and should prevail against childish dogma.

            That tolerance will and should prevail against bigotry.

            That modernity will and should prevail against backwardness.

            That freedom will and should prevail against authoritarianism.

            That progress will and should prevail against pining for illusory ‘good old days.’

            May the better ideas win.

            Of course, in modern America, that’s easy for me to say. I’m neither Republican nor conservative.

            1. From your evasions, it seems that you are aware it’s your side which attacks women’s sports, discriminates against Asians, and believes in lenient treatment of criminals who attack gay people.

              Progress and science, indeed.

              1. Stick with the bigotry, superstition, and backwardness, Cal Cetin. That seems to suit you.

                It means you will spend the rest of your life increasingly complying with the preferences of your betters, though.

                1. Stick with your position that protecting women’s sports, allowing equal opportunity for asians and punishing gay-bashers is backward and superstitious.

                  That should win you some votes.

                  1. My side has plenty of votes, Cal Cetin. Soon enough, the Republicans will no longer be competitive in national elections, as our electorate continues to improve — less rural, more diverse (less White), less religious, more tolerant, less backward. Smart conservatives know this — it is why they are so disaffected, desperate, and disagreeable these days.

                    1. You do enjoy being part of a victorious mob on the right side of history, don’t you?

                      You would have made a good Brownshirt.

                    2. I enjoy watching America improve. I enjoy helping America improve.

                      I also enjoy making bigots sad.

                    3. Sad? You’re annoying, but that doesn’t sadden me…at least not in the sense you mean.

            2. Artie. Any comment about the rape of 35000 white women by black men, and no rape of black women by white men?

              I pray Queenie is safe.

              1. You keep lying about this stat. Your racism is showing.

                1. Read the chart on sex assaults. Those who call others racist are called race whores. Zero tolerance for dirty race whores. At work, I would demand the race whore be fired on the spot or I would sue the employer. I would demand the race whore be expelled from any club or church. Dirty race whores promote the Chinese Commie agenda and are traitors.

                  1. The chart on sexual assaults and rape (see Table 8 of Eugene’s BJS link) shows that 55.7% of offenders were White, 22.1% were Black, and 15.5% were Hispanic. This compares to robbery where the numbers were 31.0, 51.1, and 15.6 respectively. Which seems to dramatically cut against your baseless argument that rape is exclusively committed by Black offenders. In fact, rape offenders are far more likely to be White than robbery offenders.

                    None of the charts show offender/victim demographics, so I can only conclude that you are making up the stat (rather than misreading a chart) for some bizarre purpose (considering the oddity of your rants, I very much doubt you have a coherent purpose to your lie).

        2. “With that level of argument”

          Says the guy who is here every day and has yet to post an argument more coherent than “down your throat clingers!”

          You wouldn’t know a quality argument if it slapped you on the ass with both hands.

          1. ” if it slapped you on the ass with both hands ”

            Cue: That right-winger who can’t stop bringing up throbbing, grinding male members.

            If this blog is the best conservative legal academia can generate, I am content.

            1. Another typical Kirkland post with a glaring lack of substance. But always a touch of bigotry thrown in – anybody who thinks you’re an idiot must be a conservative and anybody who uses a very common phrase must be gay.

              You’re just in no position to criticize anyone about substance.

        3. Russian liberals weren’t able to be competitive in the culture war in 1917. Doesn’t make them wrong.

          I know you think you’re safe from your new masters by doing their dirty work online, but one night you’ll mutter something in your sleep about how you liked David Brooks’ columns and you will be purged just as surely as any other clinger.

        4. Do the knuckle-dragging right-wingers genuinely believe they can regain competitiveness in the culture war with that level of argument?

          Who can forget Hannity attempting to get Colbert cancelled for the “Putin’s cockholster” comment, expounding at length at how horrid it was to use a tender moment between two men as an epithet.

          Progress for conservatives is slow but ongoing.

    2. Setting aside the clear sarcasm, in order to get such statistics there would need to be agreement on what conduct is those things. There is quite a lot of debate about that and not just by “clingers”

      1. We don’t agree that, say, allowing less qualified individual into some program because one person is Asian and the other is not is discrimination?

    3. RAK,
      I wish I thought you were serious. But your last line gives you away. The paragraphs were just the chapeau for a snark.

      1. Every word was serious.

        And, for the Volokh Conspiracy, quite inconvenient.

        1. “Every word was seriously stupid, because I’m a fucking moron.

          I fixed that for you. Your appeals to logic and reason are hilarious, given your utter lack of ability to use logic or reason.

          Carry on, cling-on.

  10. The statement is 100% correct as written. Those who disagree are clearly behind on their NewSpeak lessons:
    “myth”: uncomfortable fact I need to sweep under the rug
    “similar”: within an order of magnitude
    “overwhelming”: the original definition of “similar” [now where did that go?]

  11. Murders are pretty much reported at 100%, less a very few missing people who were murdered and never found.

    We know that blacks are 12-13% of the population, commitment 45% of murders and 90% of their victims are black.

    The opinion piece expects us to believe that this disproportionate percentage for the most heinous crime just totally disappears for other violent crimes. Its ludicrous gaslighting.

    1. The opinion piece expects us to believe that this disproportionate percentage for the most heinous crime just totally disappears for other violent crimes.

      Yeah, it is fairly inconvenient to have a non-malleable statistic like that out there. I guess the reasonable assumption is that the rather freshly-minted criminal law professor just wasn’t thinking ahead and didn’t really intend to send the message “blacks play for keeps.”

  12. Every paragraph of the article qualifies the author’s faith in the data being cited; so comparable modesty as to conclusions is in order. There is just too much motivated reasoning in matters to do with race and law enforcement.

    1. There is just too much motivated reasoning in matters to do with race and law enforcement.

      The author, whose “teaching and research lie at the intersection of critical race theory and criminal justice policy,” is carrying around a particularly specific hammer.

  13. In my pediatric ER, notable for having the most gun shot victims of any peds ER in the country, it’s all black on black shootings. In more than 25 yeas of practice here, not a single black kid shot by cops. But hundreds shot by other black kids. Even in the nice suburban hospitals in the surrounding county, it’s mostly blacks shooting blacks, at a proportion much higher than general black population percentage.
    But go on with the myth that crime in black communities are no different than other areas. It’s the liberal apologists living in their comfortable gated communities who continue to fan the flames of anti-policing.

    1. In my community, all of the gay-bashing bigots are conservatives and Republicans.
      Most of them claim to be religious.

      In my community, nearly all of the racist bigots are conservatives and Republicans. Most of them claim to be religious.

      In my community, nearly all of the ossified misogynists claim to be religious. Most of them are conservatives and Republicans.

      In my community, all of the xenophobes are conservatives and Republicans. Many of them are poorly educated.

      It’s the conservatives, Republicans, and superstitious clingers who need to be dragged into modernity by their betters. Fortunately, the record indicates better Americans are up to that task.

      1. Got any cites? Where do you live? I’d love to see the crime statistics where you live.

        Once again, Art, you’re hiding behind your snide attitude toward those you dislike.

        1. I don’t like bigots. Therefore, you don’t like me.

          But at the Volokh Conspiracy, you’re right at home.

          1. You make yourself at home here, Reverend Artie.

            1. Artie was banned by the Volokh Conspiracy — part of a long record of partisan, viewpoint-driven censorship imposed at this blog — for poking fun at conservatives a bit too deftly for the proprietor’s taste.

              I am Arthur.

              1. There is no banning at the Reason Foundation, Artie. Any comment about the rapes of 35000 white women by black men, and no rape of black women by white men?

                1. How about: it’s a lie, and you make me wish that you would be banned, or at least that there was an ignore user capability.

                  1. See the tables in the post. See them before they get hidden by the Biden administration.

                  2. Absa, did you pass 1L, if I may ask?

          2. “I don’t like bigots.”

            Self hatred is tough to see, bigot.

      2. RAK,
        A you had no real answer or explanation for Gasman, you resorted to a series of meaningless taunts. That exposes you as not arguing in good faith.
        Too bad.

        1. What was Gasman’s argument or point, beyond cheap-shot racism from a bigoted, obsolete conservative?

      3. Strange that all of the people Artie surrounds himself with are these supposed racist, gay-bashing bigots. But, that’s what happens when you stand in a room full of mirrors.

    2. Morbid curiosity: With a GSW, what can a peds ER offer/do that a regular ER can’t? Assuming it isn’t an infant hit by a stray round, most of these victims are teenagers, aren’t they?

      Or is it just that you’re closest — and they’d bring in the 38-year-old cop, although you’d transfer him later, if he lived…

      1. Ed,
        Start off with a greater familiarity with less than full developed physiology, a great familiarity with successful age-dependent methods of treatment, a greater familiarity with medical complications associated with development toward and through puberty.
        I can go on, If you have a real interest

        1. For GSW — for initial, emergency treatment of GSW?

          For followup care, absolutely — but in the desperate rush to stop the bleeding, does any of that matter? And bear in mind that a good percentage of these victims are going to be post-puberty.

      2. The peds ER gets a few stray bullets in kids under age 12 or so. But the prime demographic for GSW is age 14-17. EMS may not know much patient history, but if they know (or are told) age is under 18, then it comes to the pediatric hospital.
        The upshot to emergency care at the peds place is that fortunately there is generally no waiting for the trauma bay, the staff not nearly as jaded as at the adult ER, and the bandages have cute teddy bears on them.

        1. Thanks — and I thought that peds had expanded to age 21.

          I’m guessing that the teddy bear bandages won’t go over well with teenaged males, but that itself may be helpful because they do need to be reminded that they aren’t adults, even if they are doing adult things, i.e. shooting each other…

          You are doing well for your staff to NOT become cynical because that does happen, it’s actually a defense mechanism…

  14. I can’t help expecting that upcoming crime statistics will be distorted by the fact that today’s district attorneys in Democrat-run cities have a policy of never prosecuting crimes by blacks. Clearly people comparing rates in the future will have to rely on some measurement other than convictions or sentences. Even complaints may not be comparable if police refuse to accept or record them.

    I can’t think of any peaceful solution except to legalize private prosecution.

    1. The peaceful solution is that the liberal-libertarian mainstream will improve America against the wishes and efforts of Republican, conservatives, and belligerently ignorant, stale-thinking bigots.

      You will get to whimper and rant about all of this damnable progress as much as you like.

      1. more of your non-answers based on your partisan preferences

        1. It is not an answer. It is a description of the most recent half-century of American progress, an assertion concerning the predictable course of the next half-century of American progress, and an observation about how impotent, disaffected conservatives handle that progress.

  15. I don’t suppose there are data for crimes by age, income, wealth, or geography in addition to race? My guess is some of the disparity you see would vanish in such comparisons.

    1. Root causes? Ok, why are block people poorer than white people? Is it because their culture foments that along with the crime numbers?

      1. Get an education, you bigoted right-wing rube. Start with American history.

        1. Kirkland, doing adult time is considered a sign of adulthood in the Black culture, such persons are respected. That *is* a cultural difference.

      2. I think it’s because they were poorer than white people when the ‘war on poverty’ was launched, and war is hell.

        1. Brett Bellmore
          April.24.2021 at 12:50 pm
          I think it’s because they were poorer than white people when the ‘war on poverty’ was launched, and war is hell.

          Brett – black crime rates were comparable to white crime rates prior to the war on poverty. The war on poverty coincided with the development of a sub culture in the black community which has higher rates of crime than the white community and higher rates of crime than the black community which did not fall into the sub culture.

          Unfortunately bigots such as the Rev promote policies which are devastating to the black community.

          1. You are the kind of right-winger who makes stomping the clingers in the culture war so important and enjoyable.

          2. black crime rates were comparable to white crime rates prior to the war on poverty

            Manifestly untrue. At the very least, Jim Crow criminalized so much of black existence this is ridiculous to say.

            1. Reductio ad absurdum. I think it’s clear he was referring to crimes like murder, robbery, theft, etc., and not crimes which only blacks could be charged with.

      3. Ok, why are black people poorer than white people?

        They aren’t if you adjust for illegitimacy rates.

        1. They are not. Very black people from Africa outperformed whites in the 2010 Census. It will be a natural experiment to see what happens to the performance of their children and of their grandchildren, as they get exposed to the toxic environment of our legal system. They come from intact patriarchal families. They are religious, most often Christian, and love America.

    2. You’re at the wrong blog for that, my friend.

    3. “I don’t suppose there are data for crimes by age, income, wealth, or geography in addition to race? My guess is some of the disparity you see would vanish in such comparisons.”

      1.There certainly are crime data by age, income, wealth, etc., but you have to actually look for it;
      2. my guess is that generally the disparity will persist.

  16. I commend Prof. Volokh for getting through a discussion of race in America without using a vile racial slur (this time). This makes two weeks since this White, male, right-wing blog has published a vile racial slur!

      1. Don’t fret about the lack of excitement, Don Nico. The record indicates that this blog will get back to publishing vile racial slurs, often gratuitously, soon enough.

        1. It already did:

          “… makes stomping the clingers in the culture war so important and enjoyable.” —Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland, April.24.2021 at 6:13 pm

          That is vile. It was racist and gratuitous as well.

          1. If that’s what a conservative considers a vile racial slur . . . no wonder Prof. Volokh has banned the term “sl@ck-j@w” from his comment section.

    1. What racial slur are you referring to? I have not seen a racial slur used by Volokh nor by anyone else. He sometimes quotes case content, but he has never used a racial slur to my knowledge, and I have been around since 2003.

      1. The proprietor uses racial slurs regularly, and not always in the context of quoting case content. His fans also use vile racial slurs regularly, with his blessing, and they generally hurl the slurs gratuitously.

        No need to take my word for this . . . ask the dean at UCLA’s law school.

    2. I commend RAK for being as tediously bigoted, intolerant and off-topic as ever. It takes true dedication to trolling to achieve that kind of consistency.

  17. At least this is one discussion to which Prof. Bernstein won’t add his ‘what’s all this stuff about racial classification?’ angle.

    1. Well thanks for shit posting all over this discussion with your bigoted rants and whining.

      1. Open wider, buckleup.

        Or not. Your comfort is no longer much of a concern for your betters.

  18. The 2019 data shoves Asians into the “Other” category

  19. Professor Volokh, I question how far anyone can get using a method to forthrightly analyze inherently questionable statistics. To get a sense of my point for yourself, I suggest you make a list of which questions you suppose your method is suited to put to rest. Perhaps many questions could be on such a list, here are a few:

    1. Concentrating only on the fate of innocent and unarmed subjects of police action, what questions will these methods dispose of?

    2. Given a desire to understand law enforcement issues which may require reform, how would you characterize persons subject to law enforcement whose treatment and conditions of custody would be particularly revealing?

    3. What, if anything, do racial characteristics of people subject to law enforcement tell us about how to improve police training?

    Which questions of your own do you think the statistical activities mentioned above can actually answer?

    1. “Concentrating only on the fate of innocent and unarmed subjects of police action”

      “Unarmed” neither means “innocent” nor “non-lethal.”

      You could, for example, ask Weymouth (MA) police officer Michael Chesna except a perp attacked him with a large rock, then fatally shot him with his own gun, and *then* fatally shot an elderly woman looking out the window.

      See; https://www.foxnews.com/us/massachusetts-police-officer-killed-after-attacked-with-rock-shot-with-own-gun-officials-say

      So much for “unarmed” — and as for “innocent”, the perp, who had just demolished a vehicle, was in the process of vandalizing a house and the officer was trying to stop him. And it’s not just property, he may have been trying to get into the house to rape or murder someone — this was 7:30 AM on a Sunday morning.

    2. Given that Eugene was responding to someone else’s claim, a better response to Eugene’s article would be an attempt to generate a list of questions that Sean Hill’s article in the Columbus Dispatch was trying to answer, and an investigation into why Mr. Hill felt it necessary to lie in order to reach his desired answers to those questions.

  20. Yeah and what happens when you control for income?

    1. Nothing. The same gold standard of crime measurement was applied in UN surveys in poor countries, and they had low crime rates, like Egypt and Ghana.

  21. One of the unrealized truths here is that denying the existence increased rates of intra-African American crime as Sarcastro and Stephen do is deeply racist.

    The first step to fixing a problem is understanding that there is a problem in the first place. Once that is realized, resources and strategies to fix the problem can be put in place.

    Here the problem is an increased rate of intra-African American violent crime. The victims here are African Americans, young and old, who suffer as victims of crime at increased rates. Understanding that, extra resources and strategies can be employed to lower these rates of crime, and help minority communities.

    However, if you deny the problem even exists, you also deny the ability for extra resources and strategies to be put in place to solve the problem. You condemn African Americans to increased rates of victimization. You in essence say “I don’t care about their victimization, the “optics” of my views are more important than a few thousand extra African Americans killed every year.

    And that is truly racist.

    1. AL, do you not understand? Criminals generate lawyer employment and salaries. Victims generate nothing and may rot. When mandatory sentencing dropped crime 40%, massive lawyer unemployment ensued. Scalia led a jihad against them. Crime went up, and lawyer employment recovered.

    2. Do you perceive anything racist with respect to the roster of Volokh Conspiracy? Anything misogynistic?

      Or is a remarkably White, strikingly male blog precisely what you prefer when launching your attacks on the ‘real racists?’

      1. “Do you perceive anything racist with respect to the roster of Volokh Conspiracy? Anything misogynistic?”

        Just whenever you post Rev.

        1. Do you always prefer segregated organizations . . . or just when discussing politics and legal issues?

      2. Lotsa women write here. I have read them with gusto. Plus, we have Queen Amalthea writing with cheeky garrulousness in the comments sections.

        1. At least 98 percent of the posted (non-comment) content at this blog is written by males.

          I conclude that is no coincidence. This is an archaically White, male, right-wing blog by design.

          1. The (((whites))) are ruining everything, right, Arthur?

      3. Why do *you* hang out at a racist blog, Rev?

        1. May the better ideas win.

          1. Artie, you are a dirty race whore. Zero tolerance for any race whore. They promote the interests of Chinese Commies. Race whores are traitors and all must be cancelled.

    3. I’m not arguing the rate doesn’t exist, I’ve made that very clear. But you prefer narrative to reading.

      The issue is the causation. I would note only your ilk are the ones arguing race or it’s culture causes crime in this thread.
      That’s unsupported, and that’s the real racism.

      1. Race whores are deniers. They do not argue in good faith. All must be cancelled.

    4. Armchair, where did I deny anything?

      I ask a lot of questions on this blog, some rhetorical, some not.

      I get damn few answers.

      You accused me of racism based on nothing more than asking 3 questions None of them had any racist text or subtext. I noticed a racial focus in the OP. I asked questions to learn what purpose that focus was intended to serve, or could conceivably serve. You erupted.

      I am used to your crap. I am even used to biting my tongue and treating you and your ilk politely—which I try pretty steadily to do, despite ad hominems and other provocations in return.

      Call me racist, and you are not going to get a polite response.

      1. Just noticed something kind of funny. Without reading his comment, I inadvertently repeated Sarcast0’s use of, “ilk.” I think we both reached for the same circumlocution—probably both trying to be polite, but brief, to save ourselves the work a fully responsible excoriation would cost. Why bother, Armchair. Anyone can see who you are.

      2. Just noticed something kind of funny. Without reading his comment, I inadvertently repeated Sarcast0’s use of, “ilk,” a peculiar word. I think we both reached for the same circumlocution—probably both trying to be polite, but brief, to save ourselves the cost in work a fully responsible excoriation requires. Why bother, Armchair? Anyone can see who you are.

        1. Oops. Repetitive.

          1. “Oops. Repetitive.”

            No different than usual then.

      3. No, you didn’t just ask three questions, your prefaced these with “Professor Volokh, I question how far anyone can get using a method to forthrightly analyze inherently questionable statistics. ”

        Inherently questionable? That’s denying the existence [of] increased rates of intra-African American crime, just as Armchair asserted.

        1. Exactly. When faced with the truth of their assertions, they immediately retreat.

          But the goal here is to avoid acknowledging the correlation, at all costs, and diverting attention elsewhere.

          Without true acknowledgement of the problem, it can’t be solved. Which…may be the real goal.

  22. The right is usually blamed for misinformation and conspiracy theories, yet on race the left is culpable of the same.

  23. The quote from the criminal law professor “Black people are overwhelmingly targeted for arrest.” is the standard response from the elites when asked about the racial disparity in our criminal justice system. I say tell that to victims.

    In 2019, there were 13,927 homicide victims with following racial makeup; 5,787 white (42%), 7,484 black (54%), 656 other (4%). Blacks make up 13% of the population but are victims in 54% of the murders. So who is doing all the killing of blacks? White supremacists? I don’t think so. Victims aren’t targeted for arrest.

    https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2019/crime-in-the-u.s.-2019/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-1.xls

  24. It’s clear these statistics are racist.

  25. Look at the bars on the windows of residences and businesses in black neighborhoods.

    They’re not trying to keep out white people and Asians.

  26. Yea its pretty obvious blacks commit a lot more crime. Good article though. Many are afraid to write the truth these days.

  27. And those who commit more crime have more interactions with the police . And if anything unarmed whites are shot more by police than blacks.

    Only one situation is ever publicized though. White cop/black civilian. So many think its the majority and we have an epidemic of racist police gunning down blacks.. You point that the stats don’t bear this out but its like a cult now. They can’t stop believing

  28. The problem with legal academia is that it kind of abounds with this amateurish dilettantism. Its “professors” tend to be little more than undergraduates with trade-school degrees, perhaps some legal “experience” clerking; but they spend so much time carefully parsing legal arguments and case law that they convince themselves that the same analytical tools developed within their fields have universal application. Surely, they think – if I understand constitutional law so well, why couldn’t I just as easily opine on modern racism? They flatter themselves and one another with lengthy think-pieces, amply footnoted, but from the outside their errors are obvious and their biases clear. It’s really just kind of embarrassing.

    So, Eugene, when you started writing about the Second Amendment, I could only roll my eyes. But, with time, it seems you’ve developed some understanding of the legal materials and whatnot. I don’t hold your dabbling in the Second Amendment against you any more. But on these social issues – whether it’s sex discrimination, sex harassment, trans issues, and now I guess it’s race that’s become your bugaboo – you consistently write on the topic without doing the least bit of relevant self-educating. You seem to think that you have seen something in the statistics, here, that a specialist at another law school with the relevant expertise has either somehow not seen or is for some reason deliberately mischaracterizing. An experienced academic ought to take this degree of self-confidence as a warning, a prompt to do some deeper inquiry, not a go-ahead-and-post. But here we are.

    This piece, to put it simply, is trash.

    To be less blunt – the problem here is that you’ve simply failed to clarify the question you purport to address. What is the “myth” of black-on-black crime? What is its relevance? Why are we talking about it?

    White supremacists and “All Lives Matter”-types – like the majority of commenters here – bring up “black-on-black crime” for a very specific rhetorical purpose – they do it to deflect attention from police violence targeting Black victims. The question they ask is, Why are we spending so time talking about the police victimizing Black people, when Black people are clearly the main threat to others and themselves? The point is to distract people from looking at police reform, with a red herring argument designed to make the media and critical race theorists look like misguided idiots, all the while feeding into racist tropes about the Black “propensity” for violence.

    That is what Hill is referring to, as the “myth” of “black-on-black” crime, and it is not meaningfully rebutted by statistics that show that the Black community may have a higher rate of criminality generally. Indeed, the statistics you’ve pored over adequately rebut the “myth” that Hill was talking about, insofar as they show that “same-race” victimization seems to be how it happens, most of the time, regardless of race.

    Higher rates of criminality in the Black community are, to be sure, a problem worth considering and addressing through reform. But the reason that white supremacists are not interested in that discussion is that asking why the Black community suffers from a higher rate of criminality will just highlight the structural and systemic problems that they are trying to distract us from in the first place. That is, Black criminality is likely itself a product of over-criminalization, over-enforcement, over-prosecution, and over-policing, as well as an historical lack of economic opportunity, public divestment, and plain old White-vanilla racism.

    So, by calling “black-on-black crime” a “myth,” the point is not to say that the Black community does not have a criminality problem of its own. “Black-on-black crime” clearly is occurring. The point is specifically to rebut a racist trope trotted out every time someone wants to address the specific problem of how the Black community is policed. By aiding in that effort, Eugene, your amateurism crosses the line from merely being annoying, to harmful.

    1. “White supremacists and “All Lives Matter”-types”

      When you start your “rebuttal” with such rigorous analysis, it demands the respect it merits.

      “Higher rates of criminality in the Black community are, to be sure, a problem worth considering and addressing through reform.”

      So it’s not a myth at all, simply an inconvenient fact which only bad people would mention.

      ‘bring up “black-on-black crime” for a very specific rhetorical purpose – they do it to deflect attention from police violence targeting Black victims.’

      Just because you can’t hold two thoughts in your head at the same time, doesn’t mean others cant. Reason has been covering police abuse for years, including the police killings of people of diverse racial makeup.

      I happen to think it’s possible to address this problem without encouraging murder, by devices for weeding out the abusive and murderous cops and (when called for) putting them in prison.

      If, on the other hand, encouraging murder is your game, then by all means protest when a policeman potentially saves a black girl’s life by shooting her knife-wielding attacker while she’s winding up for a stab.

    2. “It’s really just kind of embarrassing… This piece, to put it simply, is trash.”

      Yes, your comment is an embarrassing dumpster fire. Pseudo-intellectual mumbo-jumbo.

  29. Here is an article from Vox that highlights why it’s good to be careful when you are trying to improve policing:

    From 2014 to 2019, Campbell tracked more than 1,600 BLM protests across the country, largely in bigger cities, with nearly 350,000 protesters. His main finding is a 15 to 20 percent reduction in lethal use of force by police officers — roughly 300 fewer police homicides — in census places that saw BLM protests.

    Campbell’s research also indicates that these protests correlate with a 10 percent increase in murders in the areas that saw BLM protests. That means from 2014 to 2019, there were somewhere between 1,000 and 6,000 more homicides than would have been expected if places with protests were on the same trend as places that did not have protests.”

    300 less homicides by the police is wonderful, but the extra 1k to 6k murders is rather less wonderful, and illustrates that you want to be careful that improvements actually improve.

    n.b. – the research here is a preprint that hasn’t been peer reviewed yet, so caution is advised.

  30. Whether, in fact, one likes the police, they demand respect, and don’t know if that’s completely unreasonable given the danger that is a constant part of their lives.
    Malcolm Gladwell has commented that when he grows his kinky hair long, he gets pulled over more frequently. Well, duh. If President Biden’s friend (“he’s a clean black man”) Mr. Obama had grown giant hair braids and worn “colorful Kente cloth”, does anyone image that he would have become the free world’s leader?
    WTF, honestly, while it may or may not be a good idea to judge a book by its cover, our “minority” citizens have demonstrated, in the main, a complete lack of decency and politesse as well as wisdom and self-preservation when it comes to their demeanor with respect to so-called authority figures. Reap as ye shall sow.

  31. When you start getting flak, that’s when you know you’re over the target.

    And when Arthur Kirkland posts 32 times in a single comment thread, well, you know you have a crappy low-IQ comment thread.

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