By Hannah Ramiskey
April 05, 2021
While reading the Wall Street Journal on March 5, 2021, I came across an article by Jeffrey H Anderson concerning President Biden’s response to a reporter who asked if he believed that there was ‘systemic racism in law enforcement’. President Biden replied, “Absolutely”. Later, President Biden stated that “his administration would make evidence- based decisions guided by the best available science and data.” Mr. Anderson takes issue with the President’s statements.
It seems that every year since the Nixon administration, the Federal Justice Department has examined whether people of different races were arrested to a degree that was disproportionate to their involvement in crime. The report released in January 2021 concluded that there was ‘no statistically significant difference by race between how likely people were to commit serious violent crimes and how likely they were to be arrested.’ The data suggested that police officers and sheriff’s deputies focus on criminals’ actions, not their race.
The WSJ article goes on to report that the NCVS is the nation’s largest crime survey. It is based on a survey of about 250,000 U.S residents who are asked if they have been a victim of violent crime in the last six months. The data is gathered from victims and is not based on police records. The victim’s responses were compared with arrests by police, supplied by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Supporting Program. “It found that for non-fatal violent crimes that victims reported to the police, whites accounted for 48% of offenders and 46% of arrestees. Blacks accounted for 35% of offenders and 33% of arrestees, Asians 2% of offenders and 1% of arrestees. None of the differences between the percentage of offenders and percentage of arrestees of a given race were statistically significant.” (Data on fatal crimes is not available as murder victims cannot identify their assailants).
When removing simple assault, not a felony, and focusing on more serious non-fatal crimes, ie: rape or sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault—whites made up 41% of offenders and 39% of arrestees, blacks made up 43% offenders and 36% of arrestees, Asians 2.5% and 1.5% respectively. A higher number of Hispanics were arrested than identified by victims—the answer seems to be the victim’s inability to identify Hispanics race accurately.
“These statistics don’t indicate that police officers are never racist, like people in any profession, they run the gamut from laudable to deplorable. But what they do show is that Mr. Biden’s claim of ‘systemic racist’ contradicts the evidence.
Mr. Anderson suggests that it would be more accurate, as well as more unifying, to refer to America as what it has always aspired to be-and what the data generally shows it to be --a land of justice.
Personally, I am deeply offended that the President of the United States, with 47 years in Congress, either never saw a Justice Report on crime (around since the 1970’s), or worse, chose to ignore it. Who are the people who want to disparage all American police as a group and ignore the facts: criminals and those with an agenda-both in and out of government?
About: 44 year Ketchikan resident
Received March 31, 2021 - Published April 05, 2021
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