[Eugene Volokh] 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”?]

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.)

….

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“:

….

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.

Source: [Eugene Volokh] Race and Violent Crime

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