Analysis of the 2016 FBI Arrest Data

Who is behind crime in America?

Analysis of the 2016 FBI Arrest Data

by Ash Brighton

Earlier this week, the FBI released its Crime in the United States data for 2016. This article will focus on the national crime data. Before we dive in, let’s get something out of the way: these data show arrests. It is not accurate to say that a given ethnic group committed some percentage of a given crime based on these statistics alone. For instance, the crime clearance rate is 60% nationwide for homicide. In cities like Chicago, it’s much worse than that:


Just in Chicago, the homicide clearance rates from the past few years indicate that there are hundreds of people who committed murder in that city still freely walking the streets. It gets much worse for things like robbery, rape, and vehicle theft. Remember the untested rape kit controversy in Detroit? It’s not limited to Detroit, as there are estimated to be over one hundred thousand untested kits nationwide. Consider also the well-known patterns regarding how willing various populations are to interact with the police.

The data as the FBI presents them are confusing at first. Whites are lumped in with Hispanics. Is this actually a common pattern, though? Well. . .

That allows leftists and anti-Whites to make abundant bad-faith arguments. If you scroll to the far-right of the table, there’s a breakout for Hispanic/Latino. We’ll address that, of course. But look carefully at the column headings. What else is missing? That’s right:

People of Middle Eastern descent are classified as “White” in many cases. It makes things messy. Then there’s the notion of Black Hispanics, mixed-race individuals, and so on which aren’t addressed in the provided tables. But these are small percentages, and considering that mixed-race individuals are irregularly classified and Black Hispanics make up roughly 2.5% of the total Hispanic population in the United States by most estimates, we’ll assume that these mostly even out in the data. For simplicity’s sake, I separated Latino into its own category based solely on the numbers provided by the FBI.

I then retrieved the most recent census population estimates, which are as follows for the general population:

61.3% non-Hispanic White (includes Jews and Arabs)

13.3% Black

17.8% Latino/Hispanic

5.7% Asian

1.3% Amerindian

0.2 % Pacific Islander

2.6% Two or More Races

I then calculated the arrest rates for each race as a percent of the total number of arrests. Using the census population estimates, I calculated the arrest rate based on population fraction. So in the following plot, a value of one for a given race category and crime means that particular race gets arrested at a rate perfectly consistent with its population numbers. 0.5 means that a racial group gets arrested at a frequency half that of its population share; it’s underrepresented by half. A value of two for a given offense means that a racial group is arrested for at double its presence in the general population. In other words, if all races are arrested for crimes at rates consistent with their population numbers, everything should show up as one.

For example, looking at murder/manslaughter, represented by the set of bars on the far left of the chart. Blacks are arrested for this offense at a rate nearly 4 times their share of the population, whereas White arrests are less than half their share. Whites are underrepresented in every category except arson. Blacks take the crown in every category except motor vehicle theft, where they are narrowly edged out by those plucky Pacific Islanders. Asians have the lowest relative arrest rate in every category.

Now let’s look at the under-18 arrest rates. Same methodology, using the Census Bureau’s under 18 population estimates (Blackpill warning):

52% non-Hispanic White (remember, this includes Jews and Arabs)

13.8% Black

24.4% Latino/Hispanic

4.7% Asian

0.9% Amerindian

0.2 % Pacific Islander

4.1% Two or More Races

Blacks show noticeable increases in nearly every category except arson, whereas Whites show increases in rape and arson, even breaking the 1.0 mark for the latter. The overall patterns look very similar in terms of relative rates, though.

Once again, it’s important to keep in mind that these are arrest rates with muddled racial classifications and thus only tell part of the story of crime in the United States. Nevertheless, the data clearly show differences in criminal tendencies among the country’s racial groups. For those who eschew political correctness in favor of enhancing public safety, these data provide abundant evidence for the positions of those who advocate for the use of profiling techniques to prevent crime and create a safer society.

Ash Brighton

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