A lot of ink has been spilled on the subject of race, crime and policing over the last few months, but rarely to so little purpose as in this article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, headlined “Racial disparities in Twin Cities arrests are widespread.” The Strib reporter suggests that the fact that blacks are arrested in greater than pro rata numbers is evidence of discrimination:
Data released by the city last week show that 41 percent of the people St. Anthony police [a St. Anthony police officer shot Philando Castile] arrested last year were black — nearly seven times what one might expect, given that they make up about 6 percent of residents in the department’s patrol area.
Actually, no sane person would expect any such thing, since everyone knows that blacks, for whatever reason, commit an enormous number of crimes. Crimes lead to arrests; at least, we hope they do.
Yet nearly every metro police department exhibits a racial disparity in their arrest rates, according to a Star Tribune analysis of recently released FBI Uniform Crime Reports data for serious crimes. Minneapolis, St. Paul and inner-ring suburbs had the highest disparities, which diminished in exurban areas.
Again, who would find this surprising? African-Americans who are not criminals and don’t want to live in high-crime neighborhoods generally move to the suburbs and exurbs. This is the map the Strib created, based on FBI data published by Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension:
If I understand the map correctly, there are large areas of the Twin Cities metro area where non-white arrest rates are lower than white arrest rates. Is this because urban policemen are racists, while suburban policemen are not? Or, perhaps, are suburban policemen prejudiced against whites?
Of course not. Those low “non-white” arrest rates in the suburbs probably include a lot of Indian-Americans, Chinese-Americans and so on–for mysterious reasons, members of these ethnic groups rarely seem to have violent encounters with police officers–but they undoubtedly also reflect the fact that successful blacks who move to the suburbs don’t get arrested any more often than successful whites who move to the suburbs. In other words, arrest rates have nothing to do with race, and everything to do with criminality, or, at a bare minimum, proximity to criminality.
Which raises another point. The Strib reporter writes:
Implicit bias occurs when police target high-crime areas, [Richard S. Frase, co-director of the University of Minnesota’s Robina Institute of Criminal Law & Criminal Justice] said in an interview. Those are largely poor areas in the Twin Cities, which have higher minority populations.
This is an absurd claim. Police target high-crime areas not because they are “implicitly” biased–whatever that means–but because they are trying to fight crime. Of course the police should target high-crime areas; have liberals completely lost their minds?
Generally lost in the controversy over race and policing is the fact that African-Americans not only commit crimes disproportionately, and are victims of crimes disproportionately, they also call on the police to protect them from crime disproportionately. The Strib reporter has perhaps failed to note op-eds published in his own newspaper by local blacks who have described, in harrowing terms, their reliance on police officers to protect them from predators. For police departments to focus their efforts on high-crime areas is only common sense.
It appears that many of today’s journalists, working for liberal outlets like the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, are trying to construct an alternative reality and impose their fantasy world on the rest of us. How can anyone write about “disproportionate” arrests of blacks without at least mentioning the disproportionate number of crimes committed by the same ethnic group? According to Department of Justice data, for example, in 2014 blacks committed 53% of all murders in the U.S. where the race of the perpetrator was known, even though they represent only 13% of the population.
Liberals have created a fantasy land, but, try as they might, they cannot compel the rest of us to live in it. I note that the Star Tribune, which enables comments by default on all of its stories, including the most trivial, has shut them off on this race-conscious, and delusional, article. No doubt the paper’s editors feared that hundreds or possibly thousands of readers who live in the real world would have been quick to point out the realities that the paper did its best to obscure.