01 February 2010

Blacks Have High Crime Rates, What About Hispanics?
Blacks Have High Crime Rates, What About Hispanics?

In a recent American Conservative article, Ron Unz argues that hispanics should not be mentally linked with blacks as a "high-crime minority." Instead, Unz suggests that there is very little difference in crime rates between "whites" and "hispanics." Why do I place "whites" and "hispanics" in quotes? Because when it comes to ethnicity, classification is everything. US government sources for crime statistics are notoriously averse to providing valid ethnic data on hispanic crime. The FBI Uniform Crime Report, for example often conflates the categories "white" and "hispanic" together, making ethnic comparisons for such crime rates impossible.

Unz assumes that he solves this problem by using incarceration statistics from the Bureau of Justice (BJS). Unz assures us that correctional officials keep scrupulous records of inmate ethnicity, and provide the aggregate data annually through the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Unfortunately, even the BJS is getting away from a scrupulous ethnic accounting of prisoners -- forcing Unz to use 2005 statistics instead of the more recent 2008 statistics, which fail to provide the ethnic data. Unz proceeds to look at age-adjusted crime data which seems to show that (age-adjusted) hispanic crime rates are much less elevated above white crime rates than popularly believed -- and in some cases hispanic crime rates are lower than white crime rates when adjusted for age. Counter-intuitive? Certainly.
A reasonable question arises: are all of these crime rates actual, or might they be statistical artifacts produced by widespread underreporting of crime in heavily Hispanic areas? We cannot absolutely eliminate this possibility, but for homicides the reporting rate is always close to 100 percent, and since for all these cities the homicide and other serious crime rates tend to follow very similar patterns, there is no evidence that any of these racial patterns were warped by substantial underreporting.

...The evidence presented here powerfully refutes the widespread popular belief that America’s Hispanics have high crime rates. Instead, their criminality seems to fall near the center of the white national distribution, being somewhat higher than white New Englanders but somewhat lower than white Southerners. Taken as a whole, the mass of statistical evidence constitutes strong support for the “null hypothesis,” namely that Hispanics have approximately the same crime rates as whites of the same age. _Unz
Unz makes an interesting argument. But can his data be trusted? Al Fin statisticians recommend caution when accepting BJS numbers at face value -- particularly when government bureaucracies are decades deep within an unscrupulous political correctness. Misclassification errors are common in the FBI database, and it is not unreasonable to expect misclassification to be involved in the BJS database of incarcerations.

US Census numbers provide another likely source of error, when calculating crime rates by ethnicity -- as anyone who has had any dealings with the Bureau of Census would know. In addition, the likely under-reporting of crime from hispanic neighborhoods is another reason to doubt the numbers. Then there is the often-huge discrepancy between crime and incarceration. As long as a Mexican immigrant can easily flee across the border to escape prosecution, he will be less likely to appear on any US incarceration rolls.

There are other reasons to hold Unz' findings in doubt with regard to the underlying statistics. Unz sometimes refers to crime rates and sometimes to incarceration rates. His numbers come from a variety of sources and are treated as equally reliable. And since "hispanic" is a linguistic classification rather than an ethnic one, the entire basis of comparison teeters ludicrously on the brink of unreliability.

It may be impossible to clean up the problems in Unz' analysis. Government agencies are making it ever harder to compare characteristics of different population groups -- whether by IQ, crime, or any other pertinent variable.

But in the end, it is possible to hold onto some hope from Unz' blatant advocacy journalism. "Hispanics" are the fastest growing population group in the US. Although average IQ among "hispanics" is significantly lower than among more European derived populations, if crime rates are not significantly higher then future US societies may have reason to hope.

In other words, you should not expect to see many rocket scientists or Nobel Prize winners among US "hispanic" groups. But if you can expect to also see relatively low crime rates among the same groups, then all is not lost.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share


Blogger kurt9 said...

The average IQ of Hispanics is not that much lower than that of whites. It is around 95 or so. The mean IQ of both whites and blacks in the South is about the same. This suggests that the South (Old South) is likely a representative model of a future Hispanic population dominated U.S. The South has its problems and may not be a place that is attractive to high IQ nerdy types. But it certainly is no hellhole and is actually an attractive place to live for many people.

Also, consider that much of the Western states (Bay Area and north) is becoming much more Asian, mostly north east Asians, and these people tend to have IQ's above the Caucasian norm.

My anecdotal experiences with Hispanics has generally been positive. I was in the night club district of San Jose, CA a few years ago. The place was almost exclusively Asian and Hispanic. It was very calm and peaceful and did not feel "edgy" at all.

Tuesday, 02 February, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Reginald over at statsaholic took a stab at rebutting this.

2. Using this and this I put together this handy little table of Black and White IQ in the four states of the Deep South:

State: Black (White) difference
MS: 88.5 (98.0) 9.5
AL: 87.8 (98.1) 10.3
GA: 91.3 (100.2) 8.9
SC: 92.5 (101.1) 8.6

Looking at my table I thought the difference would be bigger, but nonetheless the intelligence of the two races down there is not about the same. The author who put together the table of Black IQ by state reckons that he may be overestimating Black IQ.

Wednesday, 03 February, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drat, my first link doesn't work, probably sue to a typo. Here is a working link to my source.


Wednesday, 03 February, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

It is difficult to get the data for an ethnic breakdown of IQ. "White" is not a real ethnic category, it is a mixture.
"Hispanic" is not an ethnic category at all, it is a linguistic category.
"Black" in America can mean anything from 100% subsaharan African to less than 5% subsaharan African.

It's about the genes, not the artificial ethnic categories. Until people get that distinction through their heads, they will continue to run around in circles.

But a good analysis of genetic differences with regard to IQ or crime etc. will have to wait until genetic (and epigenetic) variants are better enumerated and understood.

Wednesday, 03 February, 2010  
Blogger conservativereadinglist said...

Unz's entire methodology is flawed:



Saturday, 06 February, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you see Steve Sailer's front page article at VDare.com on murder in California?


Tuesday, 09 February, 2010  

Post a Comment

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts