Thursday, September 25, 2008

More on crime among Native Alaskans: In the lower 48 states, American Indians are not known for high rates of crime. The Uniform Crime Report tells us that AIs are slightly more than 1 percent of all arrests for serious crimes, which is close to matching their share of the U.S. population (1.0%). They only seem to have a noticeable problem with family violence and alcohol-related crimes.

Not so with Alaska natives. Using arrest data, I calculated how their rate of serious crime compares with white Alaskans. I've listed the ratios here:


Ratio of Alaskan native crime rates to whites

Murder 4.3
Rape 5.7
Robbery 3.4
Aggravated assault 3.7
Burglary 3.4

These are huge differences--similar in magnitude to black-white differences. It's typical though how crime in Alaska is portrayed as a white problem. Those hell-raising rednecks (which I'm sure are actually lily white up there).

So how do we explain the propensity to act violently, especially in light of the fact that American Indians are similar to whites? Have these descendants of hunters not lost their fierce ways yet? Did the White Man kill off many of the aggressive males down here?

14 comments:

Joe said...

I bet you're right that they haven't lost their primitive ways. I think that eurasians are less violent because long periods of intense civilization have bred the fight out of them.

Peter said...

Could some of the crime involving American Indians be handled by tribal courts and not show up in official statistics?

Anonymous said...

It's the firewater.

Anonymous said...

How do the absolute crime rates in Alaska compare with those of the lower 48 states?

Maybe the Alaskan Indians aren't so badly behaved?

Are Alaskan whites just better behaved?

Statsquatch said...

Maybe it is welfare. Most of the tribes in Alaska get checks from native corporations that are financed by natural resources.

Ron Guhname said...

anon: I calculated the 2006 violent crime rate for white Alaskans and all white Americans. The number of arrests per 10,000 total pop. is 16.3 and 10.9, respectively.

Rain And said...

Northern Indians in Canada are also way more criminal than the white population.

Admixed Hispanics and Indians below North America seem to cause more crime as well.

Are American Indians really a special case or do they just lead a more separate existence than these other groups. An Indian I met who grew up on a reservation seemed to describe a different picture of rampant violence and alcoholism.

Anonymous said...

Apparently only 36% of "Alaska Natives" are Indians, so the two terms aren't necessarily synonymous.

http://www.nativeamericans.com/AlaskaNatives.htm

According to the link, more than half Alaska Natives are Eskimo, and about 12% are Aleuts. The latter two groups are not considered Indian. So that might be part of the disparity between Indians in the Lower 48 and Alaska.

Natives in general also a young group, with a median age of 24 years, according to the website.

Joe said...

That's interesting, I'd like to see the results corrected for age and gender. Maybe that explains it all.

Anonymous said...

About Reservation crime. I lived on a Seneca Indian reservation for about 6 months when i was a teenager and i think theres some unique things effecting the crime rate 1. the state and local police weren't allowed on the reservation 2. i never saw the reservation cops . 3. it's the country and everyone is realated to everyone else 4. you didn't here about burglerys all the houses had guns and often someone unemployed at home. 5. some of the Indian kids i went to school with had just been released from prison for robbing restuarants at gun point.According to them the local police couldn't arrest them only the Feds. PS They didn't respect the law or other people and they all hated whites

scottynx said...

One partial factor influencing things could be differences in levels of white admixture between Alaska Natives and American Indians int he lower 48 states. I don't know for sure that there are differences here, I am just throwing it out. The census uses the one drop rule for minorities and doesn't differentiate between how much white blood they have anyway.

Peter said...

The census uses the one drop rule for minorities and doesn't differentiate between how much white blood they have anyway.

Not quite ... the Census relies on self-designation, and in any event the one drop rule has never applied with respect to American Indian ancestry. Millions of people who consider themselves white claim partial American Indian ancestry. It's almost a badge of pride. Further complicating things is the fact that most tribes set their own standards as to how much ancestry is required for tribal membership. What with many tribes raking in money from gambling casinos or, in some cases, natural resources, they have an incentive to set the ancestry standard quite high.

RobertHume said...

I believe that Ron analyzed patriotism several months ago and found that American Indians were the most patriotic, more than all ethnicities of whites.

Anonymous said...

I believe that Ron analyzed patriotism several months ago and found that American Indians were the most patriotic, more than all ethnicities of whites.

Ira Hayes. A drunk, criminal and patriot!

-Sgt. Stryker