The Black Lives Matter movement trades on Americans’ ignorance about the demographics of criminal offending. As long as that ignorance prevails, BLM’s anti-cop narrative will continue destroying the institutions of law and order.
Activists and their media enablers present racial disparities in police activity—be it stops, arrests, or officer use of force—as prima facie evidence of police bias. They generate those racial disparities by comparing policing data to population ratios.
In New York City, for example, a little over 50% of all pedestrian stops conducted by the New York Police Department have a black subject. But blacks are slightly less than a quarter of the city’s population. Voilà! Proof of racism, declare the mainstream media, Democratic politicians, and virtually the entirety of academia.
Census data is the wrong benchmark for evaluating police behavior, however. The proper benchmark is crime rates, because policing today is data-driven, deploying officers to where criminals prey on their victims.
Blacks in New York City commit over 70% of all drive-by shootings, according to the victims of, and witnesses to, those shootings, who are overwhelmingly minority themselves. Add Hispanic shootings to black shootings and you account for nearly 100% of all shootings in New York City. These numbers mean that virtually every time an officer gets a “shots fired” call over his radio, he is being called to a minority neighborhood, on behalf of a minority victim, and being given the description of a minority suspect, if anyone is cooperating with the police for once. The cops don’t wish this reality into being. It is forced upon them by the facts of crime.
Such disparities exist in every American city. In Chicago, blacks commit about 80% of all shootings and murders, and whites less than 2%, though both blacks and whites are each a little less than a third of the population. In St. Louis, blacks commit up to 100% of all homicides, though they are less than 50% of the population.
Officers cannot use their lawful powers of enforcement, in other words, without having a disparate impact on blacks, since blacks commit the lion’s share of violent street crime.
You’re not supposed to talk about this, though. But the data are what the data are. Believe in science.