Skip to comments.Ignoring the Demographics of Murder Is Dangerous
Posted on 06/20/2008 3:25:48 PM PDT by radar101
The FBI released its  preliminary crime figures for 2007 last week, and as is sometimes the case there was both good and bad news to be found in the report. Violent crime in the U.S. fell by 1.4 percent last year, a modest decline to be sure but a decline nonetheless after increases of 1.9 percent in 2006 and 2.3 percent in 2005. This nationwide trend is largely attributable to the even more dramatic drop in crime seen in Americas largest cities: there was a 9.8 percent drop in murders in cities with populations of greater than one million. New York, for example, saw a 17 percent drop, Houston was down 6.6 percent, and even Philadelphia, where in some neighborhoods homicide is seen as a municipal pastime, saw a decrease of 3.4 percent.
But the news was not so encouraging elsewhere. Murders increased by 7.1 percent in Washington, DC, and by 12.6 percent in Cleveland. And those wondering if New Orleans will ever return to pre-Katrina conditions will probably not be heartened by one indicator that things are indeed getting back to normal: murders were up by 29 percent in the Crescent City in 2007.
And the picture is also alarming in Americas less-populous cities. In cities with populations between 50,000 and 100,000, murders were up 3.7 percent last year. Smaller towns, i.e., those between 10,000 and 25,000, saw murders rise by 1.9 percent, and in what the FBI calls non-metropolitan counties, murders were up by 1.8 percent.
This is an expectation-defying trend, one that has sent sociologists, criminologists, and demographers to their drawing boards in search for an explanation. And in one city the picture that emerged, oddly, was that of a bunny rabbit.
Writing in this months Atlantic, Hanna Rosin describes how two researchers stumbled upon a pattern that surely will cause much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the halls of government and academia. In  American Murder Mystery, Rosin recounts the discovery made by Richard Janikowski, a criminologist at the University of Memphis, who was trying to explain the shifts seen in that citys crime patterns since the mid-1990s. Violent crime, Janikowski observed, was on the decline in Memphiss inner city but rising along two corridors north and west of the city (the rabbits ears) and another to the southeast (the tail).
As luck would have it, Janikowski is married to Phyllis Betts, a housing expert at the University of Memphis. Betts had been measuring the impact made by the razing of Memphiss public housing projects, which began in 1997, and part of her research entailed keeping track of where the projects former residents, supplied with Section 8″ government housing vouchers, had gone. When she and Janikowski merged their data maps, what followed was what one suspects was an ah ha moment: the dots represented by Bettss transplanted project dwellers corresponded perfectly with the crime spikes on Janikowskis map.
But ah ha soon gave way to uh oh. Rosin writes:
Betts remembers her discomfort as she looked at the map. The couple had been musing about the connection for months, but they were amazed and deflated to see how perfectly the two data sets fit together. She knew right away that this would be a hard thing to say or write. Nobody in the antipoverty community and nobody in city leadership was going to welcome the news that the noble experiment that theyd been engaged in for the past decade had been bringing the city down, in ways theyd never expected. But the connection was too obvious to ignore.
Alas, where government is concerned, when it comes to issues of race and crime there is nothing too obvious to ignore. When Betts presented her findings to city officials in Memphis, the reception she got was a cool one. Rosin describes the meeting:
Earlier this year, Betts presented her findings to city leaders, including Robert Lipscomb, the head of the Memphis Housing Authority. From what Lipscomb said to me, hes still not moved. Youve already marginalized people and told them they have to move out, he told me irritably, just as hes told Betts. Now youre saying they moved somewhere else and created all these problems? Thats a really, really unfair assessment. Youre putting a big burden on people who have been too burdened already, and to me thats, quote-unquote, criminal. To Lipscomb, what matters is sending people who lived in public housing the message that they can be successful, they can go to work and have kids who go to school. They can be self-sufficient and reach for the middle class.
And there you have it: The truth, even when its measured in dead bodies, must not obscure the all-important message.
Here in Los Angeles, a similar war of words has broken out over a similarly volatile issue. The citys two top cops, LAPD Chief William Bratton and L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, are offering divergent assessments on the extent to which tensions between black and Latino residents are affecting crime. On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times ran an op-ed piece by Baca with the provocative headline  In L.A., Race Kills. And the piece itself was no less provocative. So let me be very clear about one thing, Baca wrote, we have a serious interracial violence problem in this county involving blacks and Latinos.
Do we really? As Bratton and other LAPD leaders have pointed out, the raw statistics do not bear out the sheriffs stark appraisal. The L.A. Times  analyzed 562 Los Angeles County homicides from last year in which a black or a Latino was killed and the race of the suspect was known. In nine out of ten of those murders the victim and suspect were of the same race, which would seem to undercut Sheriff Bacas assertion. But the city has seen a handful of high-profile killings in which race was surely a factor, including the murders of a 14-year-old black girl last year and a 17-year-old black boy this year. Both of their alleged killers were Latino gang members, and the crimes reinforced a belief held by many in Los Angeles that some Latino gangs were out to racially cleanse whole neighborhoods in the city.
So who is right, Baca or Bratton?
Each is right in  his own way, says L.A. Times columnist Tim Rutten. Writing in Saturdays edition, Rutten says Bratton is underplaying the race angle while Baca is overplaying it. Brattons initial denial to the point of publicly upbraiding a reporter who dared raise the question of any racial component in the citys violent crime problem was politically tone deaf, Rutten says, but he adds that it is reckless for Baca to suggest that incidents of interracial violence are more numerous than they really are.
In one sense, Baca enjoys more credibility on the matter than does Bratton. For his part, Baca says he has learned of the racial tensions through conversations with, among others, cops on the beat, which immediately sets him apart from his LAPD counterpart. Im guessing Bratton hasnt had an honest dialog with a street cop in years. There certainly werent any with him as he dined at Le Cirque in Manhattan on Friday night. Indeed, one of the many criticisms LAPD rank-and-file officers have of Bratton is that he spends too much time hobnobbing with the swells in New York and not enough time talking with his own cops here in Los Angeles.
But like the city officials who turned a blind eye to the demographic reality of crime in Memphis, what neither Bratton nor Baca nor almost anyone else, for that matter seems willing to recognize is that violent crime in Los Angeles is largely confined to blacks and Latinos. Of the 352 homicide victims in Los Angeles County  reported as of June 9, 199 were Latino and 104 were black. The Times has been criticized in some quarters for publicizing these figures, but facts, as John Adams said, are stubborn things.
As long as the two groups keep their disputes and their bullets among themselves, very little attention, either from the media or from government, will be focused on the problem. As Atlantic writer Hanna Rosin discovered in Memphis, one must be careful of sending the wrong message.
Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com
URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/ignoring-the-demographics-of-murder-is-dangerous/
URLs in this post:  preliminary crime figures for 2007: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/2007prelim/  American Murder Mystery: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/memphis-crime  In L.A., Race Kills: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-baca12-2008jun12,0,1236080.story  analyzed: http://www.latimes.com/news/la-me-race13-2008jun13,0,2997113.story  his own way: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-rutten14-2008jun14,0,3598916.column  reported as of June 9: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/crime/homicidemap/
Liberals are in such denial. The reality is, they know the truth, but they can’t fathom having to admit it.
Section 8 housing is an absolute disaster. It ruins the neighborhoods, the commercial areas, and the schools. This notion that you can change people merely by changing their environment is one of the most basic of liberalism’s flaws (of which there are many).
“This notion that you can change people merely by changing their environment is one of the most basic of liberalisms flaws (of which there are many).”
My town leveled an old 60’s brick one story apartment type public housing project and replaced it with nice, trendy, architecturally appealing townhouses. The crime rate hasn’t changed a bit.
Unfortunately political correctness doesn’t allow us to discuss this problem accurately.
We’re not supposed to notice or care if certain groups of people perpetrate crime. We’re not supposed to talk about subject such as fatherless children getting in trouble with the law, or family upbringing, because then that hurts somebody’s feelings, and then it’s also pointed out that not everyone growing up in difficult circumstances turn out to be a criminal.
Paul LaRosa, a CBS producer, is keeping tabs on the reported murders in New York City. The scenario is the same, most murders are of Blacks and Hispanics.
I live in Memphis just down the street from a housing project that was closed. The area improved immediately from what it was. Its still a ‘hood’ but nowhere near as bad.
Anyone with half a brain SHOULD have been able to figure out that the criminals weren’t going to stop. You just spread them around the city. Its better for me, but I know the problem didn’t end. Just like the New Orleans “Katrina” people spread all around the country!
Its their utopian Potemkin Village, we just live (& die) in it.
The findings of this study are patently obvious and have been for a long time. Its just that the truth must not be spoken for it gets in the way of leftist social engineering.
...and most of them probably black on black or Hispanic on Hispanic crimes. One of the casualties of the left’s unwillingness to recognize reality is the safety of the very populations they claim to be helping.
...you are correct, but I'm still in favor of changing their environment...to one surrounded by prison walls...
“The scenario is the same, most murders are of Blacks and Hispanics.”
most murderers are blacks and hispanics.
Does anyone know where the raw FBI data can be viewed, or do they hide it?
I wonder if Obama also put blame on the women who get pregnant by these men? The blame is on both.
Wouldn’t you love to hear Ms. Betts say to Mr. Lipscomb, in a similarly irritated voice, “You aren’t the boss of me.”
Piehole, Lipscomb, shut your piehole.
scroll down the page
That's because there is a fundamental difference between being “poor” and being “low class” —moral values.
Solution: hire unemployed blacks to guard the border.
So what's the problem?
I'm not sure...
Paul LaRosa, a CBS producer, is keeping tabs on the reported murders in New York City
Nonsense. In true Marxist fashion, when reality goes counter to The Cause, it is perfectly acceptable to simply lie. Fabricate. Make something up. Truth is just another bourgeois construct, after all.
Thank you for posting this article. It’s good to see reality in print.
And don’t forget -Illegal immigrants kill more Americans EVERY YEAR than died on 9/11
As a former Democrat, you must know the inside rationalization. What do they say in their heart of hearts?
Hey man you dissed me. Bang, bang.
I disagree it is not the message it is an article of faith.
It is one of the Liberals articles of faith that the poor are not responsible for their actions. The poor receive dispensation for their crimes by the sanctifying burden of their circumstances which are not their fault but the fault of the oppressive capitalist system.
Simply read it in the quote in the article
From what Lipscomb said to me, hes still not moved. Youve already marginalized people and told them they have to move out, he told me irritably, just as hes told Betts. Now youre saying they moved somewhere else and created all these problems? Thats a really, really unfair assessment. Youre putting a big burden on people who have been too burdened already, and to me thats, quote-unquote, criminal.
As you can see this man is a Liberal who has absolved the people moved. The fact that these people brought their problems with them when they moved can not shake this mans faith.
He will continue to believe that the system is keeping these people in their circumstances even all of the available evidence is clearly indicating that these people are responsible for their own problems.
These maps are from the article titled "Anti-gun Promo Blackfires"
I think perhaps it should have been entitled, "The African Americans are slaughtering each other in our US Cities"
Baltimore, PROPER, which is reflected on the map has 64.34% Black or African American, 31.63% White.
This Baltimore Sun map shows a terrible problem, but does not clarify who the murderers are.
Baltimore Sun map of PEOPLE murdered, 2007:
Baltimore Sun map of BLACKS murdered, 2007: (264)
Baltimore Sun map of WHITES murdered, 2007: (12)
Of the 12, 6 were killed *downtown* probably while buying drugs. _______________________________________________________________
That's right a small percentage of people, generally gangs and drug dealers, in our large cities are causing the majority of the gun related homicides in the US. Do not allow this data to be covered up or hidden. Do not allow the gun control nutcases to take away your self defense weapons.
Baltimore, PROPER, Population 651,154
Baltimore, greater metropolitan area, Population 5.1 Million
Posted by Shabba Rommel 09:08 AM, 06/18/2008
Like Franknstein and Bill Cosby said, where is all the discipline in the Black Community? Where is Al Sharpton & Jesse Jackson when their community really needs them? From teenage gangs killing innocent victims in Septa terminals to this, many in the Black community are simply out of control. Fortunately (or unfortunately for them) a majority of their victims are their own. The media perpetuates this by glorifying hiphop and the gangsta lifestyle. Blacks are the only minority specifically protected by law and many STILL cant get their act together in society. All other minorities, including Asian and Latino (and even now with the success of the Native Americans) manage to provide for themselves and their families and successfully integrate into the American society. Slavery isnt an excuse anymore that died about 100 yrs ago that is just an excuse for the desperate and frankly Native Americans had it 1000x worse. There are Black leaders all across the county in business and government and now there is one who is successfully running for President, the only racism that exists is that which a minority brings upon itself.
Check out your neighbors.
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