Thursday, July 19, 2007

Blacks and the US Murder Rate

Browsing the web I came across a statement that if no for blacks the US murder rate would be very similar to European rates. An interesting theory. True? Lets find out.

We will look at FBI stats for murder by offender for 2004 & 2005
Whites: 5339
Blacks: 5608
Other: 271
Unknown: 4717
Total 15935
Rate per 100,000: 5.5
Whites: 5452
Blacks: 6379
Other: 299
Unknown: 4899
Total: 17029
Rate per 100,000: 5.6

As for population, in 2005 there were an estimated 296,410,404 people in this country. White comprising 80.2% and blacks 12.8%. Of interest is the fact that hispanics are often counted in as whites as there is no separate category for them.

I am going to make a basic initial assumption that the "unknown offenders" are broken up per the % of population, which adds to the totals as follows
2004: Whites - 3783 Blacks 604
2005: Whites - 3929 Blacks 627
There are serious problems with this assumption and this is somewhat corrected for later.

Some observations: Adding these totals, (with assumptions) the offender rate would be for Whites 57.24% and 55.08% and for Blacks 38.98% and 41.14% for 2004 & 2005 respectively. With this in mind Blacks commit murder as much as 3.2 times greater than the percentage of population would suggest.

So the murder rate, by offender, minus those committed by blacks would be an adjusted to 3.28 per 100,000 for 2004 and 3.38 for 2005. However, leaving the black population in the census figures while removing the crime rate skews the numbers slightly. So removing the black population from the census figure would give a slightly higher rate of 3.76 for 2004 and 3.87 for 2005. However if one follows through with the 3-3.2 times greater than population this would lower the per 100,000 rate to 3.16 and 3.24.

How does this compare with Europe? Last I could find for the UK* was 2.03, France 1.64, Spain 1.25, Germany .98 and Italy 1.23. In other words, this person recognized the disparity in crime rates but took his conclusion a little further than the facts would support.

*It should be noted that the UK doesn't count something as a crime if there isn't a conviction. Therefore their statistics are rather unreliable.