Monday, April 15, 2019

Data: I'm skeptical that the Hispanic crime rate is similar to that of whites

I doubt the Hispanic crime rate is similar to that of whites. Let's put aside police statistics and victim surveys because both depend on someone reporting the crime, and immigrants are notorious for failing to report crimes out of fear of authorities.  And arrest data also depend on law enforcement policies.

Criminologists understand that homicide is a good measure of serious violent crime because corpses advertise crimes loudly.

The CDC has a neat website for analyzing mortality data.  I looked at homicide rates for 2017, the most recent year available. Here are the rates per 100,000 in the specific population:

Homicide Rate
Black  23.0
American Indian  9.7
Hispanic  5.3
White  2.8
Asian  1.7

Not surprisingly, blacks are at the top with a rate that is 13 1/2 times the Asian rate.  American Indians are second with a rate that is 5.7 times that of Asians.  This reminds me of Greg Cochran and Henry Harpending's hypothesis (if I remember correctly) that Native Americans never got pacified by centuries of the state weeding out the most violent.  Henry and Peter Frost published a paper three years ago that found that the English proclivity to execute criminals with abandon resulted in a country with a homicide rate that is a tiny fraction of what it was a 1,000 years ago.

Criminologists excuse black violence by blaming criminogenic urban environments. If living in a big city is the key to violence, why are rural Indians so murderous? Genes explain better than sociology.

When it comes to homicide, Hispanics resemble their racial reality: they are somewhere between American Indians and whites. Looking at Latin America, I'm pretty sure crime is a more serious problem for Hispanics than it is for whites.


  1. I think deportation of convicts after their terms play a role, plus the tremendous opportunities for criminals in Mexico ever since Mexico took over the cocaine trade from Colombia in the 1990s means that bilingual guys who like being criminals are today more likely to live a life of crime in Mexico than in America.

    In the 1970s, with light prison sentences in the US and little money in Mexico, it made sense for somebody who had spent time on both sides of the border and spoke both languages to pursue a life of crime in the US. Today, if you like being a bad guy, there may well be more opportunities for a criminal in Mexico.

  2. Also: Using national victim data, this study found that even though most violence is young male-on-male, most violence against Hispanics (which is typically committed BY Hispanics) reported to the police involves female victims. Male Hispanic victims simply do not report the crime.

    1. Anonymous11:00 AM

      You can also say that Female Black Americans simply do not report the crime and you won't be far from the truth.


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