Race and Crime

Race and Crime In 2007. whites (including Latinos as) accounted for almost 70 percent of all arrests. as shown in Compared with African Americans. arrest rates for whites were higher for nonviolent property crimes such as fraud and larceny-theft but were lower for violent crimes such as robbery. In 2007. whites accounted for almost 60 percent of all arrests for property crimes and about 59 percent of arrests for violent crimes. African Americans accounted lor almost 39 percent of arrests tor violent crimes and 2S percent of arrests for property crimes (FBI. 200S). Although official arrest records reveal certain trends. these data tell us very little about the actual dynamics of crime by racial-ethnic category. According to official statistics, African Americans are over-represented in arrest data. In 2007. 'African Americans made up about 12 percent of the U.S. population but accounted for 28 percent of all arrests. Latinos/as made up about 13 percent of the U.S. population' and accounted for about 13 percent of all arrests. Native Americans (designated in the UCR as "American Indian" or "Alaskan Native") made lip 1.3 percent of all arrests; however. most of their offenses were for alcohol-related crimes or disorderly conduct. In 2007. less than I percent (O.S%) of all arrests were of Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders (FBI. 2OOS).

Criminologist Corporate Rickey Mann' (1993) has  argued that arrest statistics are not an accurate reflection of the crimes actually committed in our society. Reporting practices differ in accordance with race and social class. Arrest statistics reflect the UCR's focus on violent and property crimes. especially property crimes. which are committed primarily by low-income people. This emphasis draws attention away from the white-collar and elite crimes committed by middle- and upper income people (Harris and Shaw. 2000). Police may also demonstrate bias and racism in their decisions regarding whom to question. detain. or arrest under certain circumstances (Mann. 1993). Some law enforcement officials believe that problems such as these primarily occurred in the past; however. issues still arise in the twenty first century about police brutality against persons of color and unequal treatment of individuals who reside in racially segregated. low-income areas of urban centers and rural communities. Another reason that statistics may show a disproportionate number of people of color being arrested is because of the focus of law enforcement on certain types of crime and certain neighborhoods in which crime is considered more prevalent As discussed previously. many poor, young. central-city males turn to forms of criminal activity due to their belief that no opportunities exist for them to earn a living wage through legitimate employment. Because of the trend of law enforcement efforts to focus on drug-related offenses. arrest rates for young people of color have risen rapidly:These young people are also more likely to live in central-city areas. where there are more police patrols to make arrests. Finally. arrest should not be equated with guilt: Being arrested does not mean that a person is guilty of the crime with which he or she has been charged. In the United States. individuals accused of crimes are. at least theoretically. "innocent until proven guilty" (Mann, 1993).