Sunday, October 19, 2008

More on Native Alaskan crime: In an earlier post, I provided evidence that Native Alaskans are much more criminal than their white counterparts who, in turn, have crime rates somewhat higher than whites in the lower 48 states. American Indians (AIs), by contrast, are not arrested much more often than whites.

Some readers suggested that native Alaskans are not more criminally prone than AIs; rather, many crimes committed by AIs do not result in an arrest because the law is underenforced on reservations.

The General Social Survey asked thousands of Americans if they have ever been threatened or shot at with a gun. I define as American Indian those people who say their primary ethnicity is Indian and that their race is non-white (in order to eliminate whites who say their main ethnicity is AI). Here the percentages:


Percent having ever been threatened or shot at with a gun

American Indians 18.1
Whites 18.7
Blacks 25.2

I'm assuming that most attacks are intra-racial. (The white offense rate is probably lower since the National Crime Victimization Survey indicates that a substantial share of attacks on whites are perpetrated by blacks. This should not be the case with the more rural and segregated American Indians.) These numbers indicate that gun violence is not higher--or not much higher--among AIs than among whites. This pattern is consistent with arrest statistics.

So native Alaskans still look much more violent than Native Americans.

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