A recent article by Camille Caldera, “Fact check: Rates of white-on-white and Black-on-Black crime are similar,” appeared in USA Today and was also carried by Yahoo News. The article challenged a viral meme that exaggerated black homicide rates. Caldera pointed out that FBI figures from 2018 showed that 81 percent of white victims were killed by white offenders and that 89 percent of black victims were killed by black offenders. The figures also showed that 16 percent of white victims were killed by black offenders and 8 percent of black victims were killed by white offenders, the eight percentage point difference only a fraction of the greatly over-exaggerated percentage difference given in the viral meme.
The takeaway for readers here would appear to be that since white and black homicide rates are supposedly roughly comparable, the rates for fatal encounters with the police should likewise be correspondingly comparable. Yet according to other sources cited by Caldera, the rate for black fatal encounters with the police is more than twice the rate for white fatal encounters with the police. The bugaboo of systemic racism has raised its ugly head yet again—or has it? The Courageous Police ... Best Price: $35.81 Buy New $18.99 (as of 04:27 EDT - Details)
The FBI figures from 2018 cited by and linked to by Caldera are from what is known as the single victim / single offender table that matches up pairs of murder victims and known murder offenders. Because thousands of murders go unsolved each year with the offenders remaining unknown, the smaller subset of single victim / single offender figures is typically used to calculate percentage estimates of murder demographics. Each numerical value in the tabular format corresponds to a number of victims in a particular group and to the number of offenders in whatever particular group was responsible for their murders.
Although Caldera calculated the percentages she cited from the table, she managed to overlook other telling percentages that can also be calculated from the table. For example: The total number each for both victims and offenders is 6,570. The number of the 6,570 victims murdered by black offenders is 3,177, a whopping 48 percent of the total. So a tiny little group making up only 13 percent of the population accounted for nearly half the murders in the country. White people—who according to the Statista population estimate for 2018 made up 77 percent of the population—accounted for 3,011 of the 6,570 victims, which comes out to 45 percent. So a minority group only about a sixth as large as the majority group managed to commit more murders than the majority group.
These figures become even more telling when compared against a hypothetical model in which all groups commit murder at the same rate, commit the same percentage of out-of-group murders, and proportionately distribute the out-of-group murders to the out groups. So white people would commit 77 percent of murders, black people would commit 13 percent of murders, and all the other groups combined would commit 10 percent of murders. Let’s say that 10 percent of the murders committed by each group are out-of-group murders. Thus 7.7 percent of murders would be out-of-group murders committed by white people, 1.3 percent of murders would be out-of-group murders committed by black people, and 1 percent of murders would be out-of-group murders committed by the other group category.
Of the 1.3 percent of out-of-group murders committed by black people, 77/87 of that 1.3 percent—about 1.15 percent—would involve white victims. (Since out-of-group victims of black offenders come from the white group making up 77 percent of the population and the other group making up 10 percent of the population, the proportional amount of white victims would be 77/(77+10) = 77/87.) Of the 7.7 percent of out-of-group murders committed by white people, 13/23 of that 7.7 percent—about 4.35 percent—would involve black victims. (Since out-of-group victims of white offenders come from the black group making up 13 percent of the population and the other group making up 10 percent of the population, the proportional amount of black victims would be 13/(13+10) = 13/23.) The Mis-Education of t... Best Price: $6.99 Buy New $4.73 (as of 05:47 EDT - Details)
So the ratio of white victims murdered by black offenders to black victims murdered by white offenders would be 1.15/4.35 in the hypothetical model, offenders in the larger group murdering more victims in the smaller group than offenders in the smaller group would murder in the larger group because of the size differential. But what is the ratio in reality? According to the single victim / single offender table, there were 514 white victims murdered by black offenders and 234 black victims murdered by white offenders for a ratio of 514/234, which reduces to 2.2/1. So what do we have to do to the theoretical ratio of 1.15/4.35 to convert it to an equivalent of the actual ratio of 2.2/1? We have to increase the 1.15 until it is 2.2 times as large as 4.35, which would bring the ratio up to 9.57/4.35. Now 9.57 is about 8.32 times as large as 1.15. The inescapable conclusion derived from this comparison of ratios is that white victims are being murdered by black offenders at about 8.32 times the rate they should be according to the parameters of the hypothetical model.
Another feature of the FBI crime report of 2018 deals with Law Enforcement Officers Feloniously Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA). One of these tables provides cumulative offender data for the decade ending in 2018. The total number of offenders listed for that time period was 532. Of those 532 offenders, 201 were black, which comes out to 38 percent. So black cop killers are overrepresented by about a factor of three relative to the percentage blacks make up of the general population.
To sum up, a minority group making up only 13 percent of the population accounts for 48 percent of murders, makes up 38 percent of cop killers, and murders white people at a rate over eight times what it should be. Could it possibly be that a propensity for violent crime just might be the reason blacks have a disproportionately higher rate of fatal encounters with the police?