There are two principal methods of collecting data on crime in the United States, crimes reported to law enforcement from the FBI; and the National Crime Victimization Survey from the Bureau Of Justice Statistics based on a census-like national survey to get an approximate count of all crime. The report (link below) and my website Crime in America provide further explanations.
Any account of crime in the United States is principally based on these two methods of data collection (there are others like Gallup and specific research efforts).
As to a need for a national survey to gauge all crime, 41 percent of violent crimes (a considerable decrease from previous years) are reported to law enforcement. It’s much less for property crime. Only a survey can answer questions as to “all” crime.
It’s interesting that the percentage of violent victimizations reported to police was lower for White victims (37%) than for Black (49%) or Hispanic victims (49%), Bureau Of Justice Statistics.
Note an emphasis on non-fatal violent crime throughout the BJS report. Simply put, you can’t interview dead people in National Crime Victimization Survey, thus homicides are excluded.
I address a portion of the report. I suggest that readers go to the link below for a more complete analysis.
Statistics, Race & Crime
I hosted a federal podcast where a civil rights leader stated that the majority of the nation’s prison population consisted of African Americans, which obviously isn’t correct. He isn’t the only one making that mistake. Blacks make up 12.5 percent of the population of the United States thus it’s impossible to state that African Americans make up the bulk of people in the justice system.
I was called a racist in a Reddit Crimology forum for quoting Department of Justice-Bureau Of Justice Statistics data stating that violent crime increased, Crime In The US. The same will happen here. Writing about race and violence, however impartially, is filled with pitfalls. Objectivity and data often takes a back seat to ideology and strong emotions.
Context: Aditional DOJ Data
Additional reports from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and other DOJ sources document victimization, who’s arrested, who’s in jail or prison, and who’s on parole and probation:
Victimization Rates: Violent victimization rates (per 1,000 people) were 21 for Whites, 19 for Blacks, and 21 for Hispanics, Bureau Of Justice Statistics.
Arrests: Data from the FBI, (based on arrests) state that for some violent crime categories (homicide and robbery) African Americans are overrepresented (53 percent-homicide, 54 percent, robbery) beyond their 12.5 percent of the US population.
In 2018, 69.0 percent of all persons arrested were White, 27.4 percent were Black or African American, and the remaining 3.6 percent were of other races, FBI-Arrests.
Jail: The jail population in 2018 was 50% White, 33% Black, and 15% Hispanic. From 2008 to 2018, the jail incarceration rate rose by 12% for Whites and fell by about 30% for Blacks (down 28%) and Hispanics (down 33%), Bureau Of Justice Statistics.
Prison: According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2018, Black males accounted for 34% of the total male prison population, White males 29%, and Hispanic males 24%.
White females comprised 47% of the prison population in comparison to Black females who accounted for 18% of the female population, Wikipedia.
After the total prison population peaked in 2009, the number of sentenced Black prisoners declined by almost 23% over a decade, from 584,800 at year-end 2009 to 452,800 at yearend 2019. The number of sentenced White prisoners decreased almost 14% over the same period, from 490,000 in 2009 to 422,800 in 2019. The number of sentenced Hispanic prisoners declined almost 6%, from 341,200 in 2009 to 320,700 in 2019, Bureau Of Justice Statistics.
Probation: 55 percent of the probation population was White, 30 percent was Black, Bureau Of Justice Statistics.
Parole: 46 percent was White, 37 percent was Black, Bureau Of Justice Statistics.
Department Of Justice BJS Report-“Race and Ethnicity of Violent Crime Offenders and Arrestees” (direct quotes-italics are mine)
In 2018, based on data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, black people were overrepresented among persons arrested for nonfatal violent crimes (33%) and for serious nonfatal violent crimes (36%) relative to their representation in the U.S. population (13%).
White people were underrepresented. White people accounted for 60% of U.S. residents but 46% of all persons arrested for rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and other assault, and 39% of all arrestees for nonfatal violent crimes excluding other assault.
Hispanics, regardless of their race, were overrepresented among arrestees for nonfatal violent crimes excluding other assaults (21%) relative to their representation in the U.S. population (18%).
These UCR data on incidents of nonfatal violent crime can be compared to data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) to determine how much offense and arrest differences by race and ethnicity can be attributed to differences in criminal involvement.
Crimes Reported Via The National Crime Victimization Survey And Uniform Crime Reports
The NCVS collects information on victims’ perceptions of offenders’ race, ethnicity, and other characteristics in incidents of violent crime. This survey is administered to persons age 12 or older from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households. The 2018 NCVS data file includes interviews from 151,055 households.
An examination of offenders’ characteristics, as reported by victims in the NCVS, provides information on racial and ethnic disparities beyond an arrestee and population-based comparison.
Based on the 2018 NCVS and UCR, black people accounted for 29% of violent-crime offenders and 35% of violent-crime offenders in incidents reported to police, compared to 33% of all persons arrested for violent crimes.
At the same time, white offenders were underrepresented among persons arrested for nonfatal violent crimes (46%) relative to their representation among offenders identified by victims in the NCVS (52%).
When limited to offenders in incidents reported to police, white people were found to be arrested proportionate to their criminal involvement (48%).
Hispanic offenders were overrepresented among persons arrested for nonfatal violent crimes (18%) relative to their representation among violent offenders (14% of all violent offenders and 13% of violent offenders in incidents reported to police).
However, victims were unable to determine if the offender was Hispanic in 9% of single-offender incidents and 12% of multiple-offender incidents, which may have resulted in some underestimates of Hispanic offenders’ involvement in violent crime.
Bureau of Justice Statistics Chart
Bureau of Justice Statistics Chart
There is a previous report on interracial crimes stating that half (51 percent) of violent victimizations from 2012 to 2015 were intraracial rather than interracial, Race And Violent Crime.
Critics will insist that justice is inherently racist. With a million police employees (sworn and civilian) it’s impossible for me or anyone else to suggest that all are free of prejudice. There are hundreds of thousands more in corrections and the judiciary.
We within the justice system must rededicate ourselves to equal treatment. Surveys of public attitudes clearly state that we must do better with minority communities. We can’t reduce crime without the full confidence-cooperation of all.
The Department of Justice report does say that “Among the most serious incidents of violent crime (rape or sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault), there were no statistically significant differences by race between offenders identified in the NCVS” (national crime survey) “and persons arrested per the UCR” (crimes reported to law enforcement).
“White and black people were arrested proportionate to their involvement in serious nonfatal violent crime overall and proportionate to their involvement in serious nonfatal violent crime reported to police.”
Regardless, hateful people have no place in today’s justice system. I detest anyone abusing power. Justice requires impartiality. They make the job much more difficult for everyone.
If communities are to prosper, if education is to succeed, if economic investment is to be encouraged, violent crime must be reduced. The only way to accomplish this is through a frank discussion of data, however uncomfortable it makes people on either side.
See more articles on crime and justice at Crime in America.
Most Dangerous Cities/States/Countries at Most Dangerous Cities.
US Crime Rates at Nationwide Crime Rates.
National Offender Recidivism Rates at Offender Recidivism.
The Crime in America.Net RSS feed (https://crimeinamerica.net/?feed=rss2) provides subscribers with a means to stay informed about the latest news, publications, and other announcements from the site.
My book based on thirty-five years of criminal justice public relations, “Success With The Media: Everything You Need To Survive Reporters and Your Organization” available at Amazon and additional booksellers.