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July 16, 2010

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Slightly OT, but the data presented in the NYT article-graphic seems to say that 90% of the stops (between March '06 and Jan '10) were minority:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/07/11/nyregion/20100711-stop-and-frisk.html?ref=nyregion

You might want to let Adam Serwer know. He's pretty responsive to these things.

Not a good governor? But, but, but....aren't you making the perfect the enemy of the good?

I always wanted to use that phrase...:)

If You Haven't Done Anything Wrong, You Have Nothing to Fear

"Unless your business model depends on cutting corners or bilking your customers, you have nothing to fear."

I'm just saying...

aren't you making the perfect the enemy of the good?

If it's a question of Paterson or whatever Pataki clone the GOP puts up, I'll take Paterson. But I like Cuomo more in the Dem primary.

Considering that there's a strong correlation in these cities between neighborhood racial composition and crime rates, I'm at a loss as to how the police can arrange to stop people in proportion to their numbers in the city as a whole, without deliberately either under-policing minority areas, or arbitrarily stopping people in low crime areas. And the statistics are not, apparently, adjusted for the racial composition of the actual places the stops are taking place.

The low percentage of people stopped who were actually guilty of something certainly indicates that the stops are NOT based on any reliable indicator of guilt. I'd venture to guess that you'd get comparable numbers just stopping people at random. But, barring detailed racial statistics, right down to the street level, compared to similarly detailed crime statistics, (Victimization surveys, to avoid distortion.) you can't tell from these numbers whether the racial disparity is driven by racial discrimination, or the police simply devoting their resources to the places the crimes are actually taking place.

I mean, they could improve these numbers by deliberately spending all their time in low crime, lily white neighborhoods. But would you consider that an improvement?

Brett,

You said:

I'm at a loss as to how the police can arrange to stop people in proportion to their numbers in the city as a whole, without deliberately either under-policing minority areas, or arbitrarily stopping people in low crime areas.

Then:

The low percentage of people stopped who were actually guilty of something certainly indicates that the stops are NOT based on any reliable indicator of guilt.

Perhaps the second graf answers the question posed in the first: Stop arbitrarily stopping so many people. Full stop.

Brett, where do you live? Not looking for your street address, just trying to get a sense of the kind of community you live in, or have lived in over the years.

Also, this is quite apt:

The low percentage of people stopped who were actually guilty of something certainly indicates that the stops are NOT based on any reliable indicator of guilt.

There's a lot of information packed into that particular datum.

Russel: I agree that police ought not to be stopping people at random, that this is wrong of them. HOWEVER, if they're stopping people at random in high crime neighborhoods, and the people they're stopping at random in those neighborhoods are disproportionately minorities only because the high crime neighborhoods happen to be disproportionately populated by minorities, then the wrong they're committing isn't racism.

Oh, and over the years I've lived in a subdivision, (Warren, MI, to be exact.) a rural area my parents moved us to after the Detroit riots stopped close enough to our home to hear, and the last couple of years in a gated community in upstate SC.

What's this got to do with anything?

Can you shoot an alatle over the gate?

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

You mean an "atlatl"? If I had one, certainly. But wouldn't that be rather like throwing a gun, instead of firing it? The atlatl is the 'bow', not the arrow...

What's this got to do with anything?

Of all of the people on this board, IMO you have among the most negative opinion of blacks and other minorities. You're also not, again IMO, a knee-jerk bonehead racist.

So I'm just trying to get an understanding of where you're coming from.

People's personal history isn't the only thing that forms their point of view, but it is one factor.

Net/net, I'm just trying to understand your point of view.

Can you shoot an alatle over the gate?

Can you shoot an atlatle over a plate?
Can you shoot an atlatle at a hairy brown dog?
Can you shoot an atlatle at a big green frog?

Sorry, "atlatle" is just one of those words that makes me channel my inner Theodore Geisel fan.

Well, you'd throw the atlatl over the fence at the bad-spellers on the other side who had already thrown the arrow back.

Yeah, wasn't my best comeback...

"Of all of the people on this board, IMO you have among the most negative opinion of blacks and other minorities."

????

I think you and I must have some disagreement about what it means to have an opinion of somebody. I have opinions about individuals I've met. Concerning groups, all I have to go by are statistics, which tell me nothing at all about any particular individual I might encounter.

But even if I were confused enough to miss this distinction, there are minorities whose stats look better than those of whites. I wonder if that's got anything to do with why they're officially discriminated against where liberals make the rules?

All that aside, do you dispute my observation, that if the police concentrate their presence where crimes are taking place, and crimes happen to take place more often in areas which have disproportionately high minority populations, then minorities are going to disproportionately interact with the police, even in a complete absence of racism?

Given the results of victimization surveys, I really don't see how the police can avoid mostly stopping minorities, unless they're going to deliberately stop enforcing the law in minority neighborhoods, and hang out in doughnut shops in low crime neighborhoods.

All that aside, do you dispute my observation, that if the police concentrate their presence wherecertain specific types of crimes are taking place, and certain specific types of crimes happen to take place more often in areas which have disproportionately high minority populations, then minorities are going to disproportionately interact with the police, even in a complete absence of racism?

Fixed that for you, which might go some way towards getting you to understand how racism does, in fact, play a factor. Although I doubt it, since you seem uneducable on this matter.

There's also the matter of mistaking correlation and causation, and putting the cart before the horse when it comes to understanding why certain types of crimes take place where they do, but I doubt I can get you to understand those either.

I think you and I must have some disagreement about what it means to have an opinion of somebody.

Quite possible.

Perhaps a better way to say what I said upthread would be: of folks on this board, IMO you are among those most prone to draw conclusions that reflect negatively on blacks and some other minorities from the available statistics.

It's just an observation.

And to clarify where I'm coming from with this, I actually have more than a little respect for you and your participation here. I disagree with most of the positions you hold, but IMO you hold them honestly and argue them in good faith.

In other words, I'm not trying to jump ugly on you with charges of racism. I'm just trying to understand your point of view.

All that aside, do you dispute my observation, that if the police concentrate their presence where crimes are taking place, and crimes happen to take place more often in areas which have disproportionately high minority populations, then minorities are going to disproportionately interact with the police, even in a complete absence of racism?

I don't dispute this, it's almost self-obviously factually correct.

I also think it focusses so narrowly on a single point of fact that it misses a number of larger, and very significant, points.

Phil's comment immediately above discusses just one of them.

Actually, Phil, you broke it for me, unless by "certain types of crimes" you mean white collar crimes, which I will gladly concede aren't concentrated in minority areas, if you'll concede that even the stupidest cop wouldn't think randomly stopping cars was a way to attack them. (And I think randomly stopping cars isn't an acceptable way of combating ANY form of crime; The police should not be accosting people without particularized reason to believe they're guilty of something.)

If I had my way we'd end the war on drugs, which would probably go a long way towards reducing inner city violence. (And would certainly erase sentencing disparities between forms of cocaine.)

But as things stand, inner cities ARE hotbeds of violent crime, and any rational policing policy is going to concentrate resources in them. Which should NOT involve 95-99% of the people being stopped having to be released because they've done nothing wrong. Rational placement of resources, irrational usage of them...

The original post and the article it referenced had nothing to do with deployment of police resources, and everything to do with a particular police tactic that is (a) apparently aimed only at specific types of crime (those involving possession of contraband such as guns and drugs), not crime in general and certainly not violent crime, and (b) directed (wherever it was taking place, and we don't know that for sure) at certain minority populations out of proportion to both their numbers in the general population and their rate of committing the specific crimes being targeted. You have every right to change the subject to "why is there so much more crime in minority neighborhoods than in other neighborhoods?", but we are also entitled to observe that you *are* rather seriously changing the subject, and to wonder why you're doing that.

But as things stand, inner cities ARE hotbeds of violent crime, and any rational policing policy is going to concentrate resources in them.

Actually, the gated community where you live is almost certainly a surprisingly sordid hotbed of violent crimes like domestic violence, rape and child molestation, but we don't like to talk about those.

And, once again, you can't get to the WHY of "inner cities are hotbeds of violent crime" without discussing this country's history of attitudes towards both race and class, and their policies concerning them. But doing that doesn't let you ignore those factors away magically, which is Brett's preferred tactic.

Brett: Assuming you're serious, I don't think you've thought this through.

Let's grant your two assumptions:
1. neighborhoods with lots of minorities have a disproportionate amount of crime,
2. that's why the cops are focusing on minorities, and
3. the incidents we're talking about, of minorities being stopped disproportionately, are actually happening in those crime-ridden areas and don't include driving-while-black stops elsewhere. (You didn't state this one, and I don't see evidence for or against it here, but I'm granting it since otherwise your argument would make even less sense.)

OK, well then, we're left with the fact that the white suspects were still more likely to actually be up to something. So you seem to be saying that the cops are trying really hard to fight crime in a black neighborhood that is just crawling with criminals, but they're so bad at it that they keep getting the wrong guys; whereas in a different neighborhood, pursuing a smaller number of white criminals, they manage to zero in on them with uncanny accuracy.

It's almost as if, even in your scenario where the cops have the best intentions, there's some mysterious factor that makes them better able to distinguish between different kinds of people and evaluate their behavior as long as those people are white. If only there were a word for that...

I’ve written a couple columns recently about NYPD’s broken windows crime policy, which along with the statistics-driven CompStat reporting system has created some twisted incentives. The two policies seem to be driving NYPD’s patrol officers to harass New Yorkers for non-crimes through an aggressive stop-and-frisk policy, while at the same time encouraging the under-reporting of actual crimes.

The Village Voice has been publishing and reporting on a series of audio recordings taken by a NYPD officer that seem to confirm both policies. Earlier this month, the Voice published an alarming interview with NYPD Detective Harold Hernandez, who says pressure the pressure to reclassify sexual assaults as misdemeanors left a rapist free to commit more assaults.
[...]

NYPD, Stop-and-Frisk, and a Rock Star Police Chief

Hob, #1 is not so much an "assumption" as an observation. Assumptions 2 and 3 are not ones I'm making.

I was making a point concerning epistemology: The evidence was quite consistent with an explanation other than racism. Mind you, it's also consistent with racism being the explanation.

The information presented was entirely inadequate to figure out what's going on. Aside from the obvious fact that the police are stopping an awful lot of people who they shouldn't be stopping.

That they're doing it because of the peoples' race? THAT we don't know.

Brett, if you're not asserting #2 or #3... and you're not making any other assertion about why #1 is relevant... then that's not an explanation. It's an observation, whose significance you're too coy to reveal; why that is, considering the sort of things you often feel free to say here, I don't know and don't really care. I think Russell was probably too charitable in his response to you and so was I.

But if you want to explain tides, you can't just say "Well, there's a moon."

inner cities ARE hotbeds of violent crime

Total number of aggravated assaults reported per 100,000 people in 2008.

The takeaway there being stay the hell out of Dixie and the West.

And, surprising to me, Massachusetts, especially *outside* of the Boston area. And here I thought the Connecticut River valley was all hippies and dairy farms.

Violent crime in North Carolina overall is down by 12.5 percent in 2009, but up by almost 23 percent in Cleveland County NC, which appears to be somewhere in the approximate vicinity of East Jesus.

Why? Who the hell knows.

I'm not drawing any conclusion from any of the above other than to note that things you think are true might not be.

To bring it all back home to the original post, I'm glad that the state of NY will no longer be holding on to personal information about anyone and everyone they stop for whatever reason, bogus or otherwise, if no further criminal is taken against that person.

We've got enough to worry about without keeping track of some random guy's personal information.

I'm sure the libertarian community will agree.

Sorry, the Cleveland County NC stuff is here.

Russel, exactly how do crime statistics not about inner cities establish that inner cities aren't hotbeds of violent crime? It's not as though I were denying that violent crime occurs anyplace else... Just that it was much worse in certain urban areas.

http://www.demographia.com/db-crimev99.htm>Here's a chart of city vs suburb for violent crime. Note that it's not unheard of for cities to have violent crime rates 7-10 times higher than their suburbs. It rather understates the point I'm making, because even in those cities, most of the violent crime is happening in particular areas. The rate of violent crime in some neighborhoods can be more that 50 times that of the surrounding state.

If you were to deploy police in South-East Michigan, for instance, strictly according to local crime rates, with complete ignorance of racial demographics, they'd inevitably end up disproportionately in Detroit and Flint, and not all of those cities, either.

I'm not saying police are optimally deploying their resources. Clearly not, if almost all the people they stop are innocent. I'm saying that the data presented do not even begin to support the accusation of racism. They could quite easily be produced by race neutral policies, given that crime itself is not race neutral in it's occurrence.

Again, I'm not sure how, given the actual racial statistics concerning the occurrence of crime, the police are supposed to interact with the races on a basis proportional to their numbers in the population, without deliberately going out of their way to avoid minority neighborhoods. Which would be a genuinely racist policy to implement...

Why do I bring this up? Because I'm damned tired of the left's reflexive screams of "Racism!", and the way no real evidence seems to be needed to justify them. It may well be that racism plays a part in this story, but it sure as hell wasn't established by the evidence presented!

You know, that chart says it is calculated from the US Department of Justice Uniform Crime Report 1999. If you look up the UCR, you get this.

Each year when Crime in the United States is published, some entities use reported figures to compile rankings of cities and counties. These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, or region. Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual reporting units from cities, metropolitan areas, states, or colleges or universities solely on the basis of their population coverage or student enrollment. (bold in original)

When the report has that kind of caveat and it is just ignored, people who use it incorrectly really shoot down their credibility and the credibility of anyone who bases their arguments on that kind of report. You've already admitted that you don't have any contact with urban African Americans, so I'm not sure you are justified in the confidence you have in your analysis.

Russel, exactly how do crime statistics not about inner cities establish that inner cities aren't hotbeds of violent crime? It's not as though I were denying that violent crime occurs anyplace else... Just that it was much worse in certain urban areas.

The key phrase here is "certain urban areas".

Some cities have problems with violent crime. Some very, very rural areas have problems with violent crime, at per capita rates that equal or exceed those of inner cities.

One place where violent crimes don't tend to show up in a big way are suburbs, which tend to be demographically heterogenous and somewhere between middle class and well to do.

My point is that some cities have a lot of violent crime, and some don't. And some places that aren't cities, and where minorities aren't that much of a presence, have lots and lots of violent crime.

So, I'm arguing against the correlation between high crime rates and minorities. If you focus only on cities, you might find a correlation, because cities often have high populations of minorities, and cities often have high violent crime rates. But you'd have to ignore everywhere in the country that isn't a city or a city-centric suburb to do so.

You could argue just as strongly that violent crime is highly correlated with paved surfaces.

I do recognize that your point here was not to say "minorities commit most of the violent crime", but to say that, *in the context of cities*, there's a correlation between violent crime and the neighborhoods where minority populations are greater. And, that it would therefore be more likely that police would stop minority citizens, and that there isn't necessarily a racist aspect to that.

Noted, and agreed.

*My* point is to argue against a broader correlation between violent crime and minorities. Not necessarily an argument you were making, but an argument that is quite common in the world at large.

I'm saying that the data presented do not even begin to support the accusation of racism. They could quite easily be produced by race neutral policies, given that crime itself is not race neutral in it's occurrence.

This is false. The police found contraband on 1.6% of black people stopped but 2.2% of white people. This difference is statistically significant, given the massive sample size.
The fact that black people were stopped more often than white people might, conceivably, represent police targeting high-crime areas (which, arguendo, tend to be poor areas which have large minority populations). But the difference in the percentage of searches which found contraband could not.

Thank you, ajay, that's exactly what I was trying to say above.

"The fact that black people were stopped more often than white people might, conceivably, represent police targeting high-crime areas (which, arguendo, tend to be poor areas which have large minority populations). But the difference in the percentage of searches which found contraband could not."

But it could very well represent whites from surrounding areas entering minority areas they'd otherwise avoid, specifically for the purpose of committing certain classes of crimes. Or, given that one of the classes of 'contraband' was firearms, whites rationally arming themselves in self defense before entering particularly dangerous areas. (Areas which would be even more dangerous for them, on an hour to hour basis, than for the inhabitants.)

It would take a lot more detailed information to arrive at an even moderately reliable opinion of what's actually going on here. I'm somewhat agnostic about what that opinion would be, were sufficient information available; Racist cops are not a particularly implausible explanation. But there's no point in pretending that we DO have enough information to draw those conclusions.

Racist cops are not a particularly implausible explanation.

Has Eric, Adam Serwer, or anyone here offered such an explanation? Or is that just "the kind of thing people here always say so it's not really a big ole straw man"?

(Areas which would be even more dangerous for them, on an hour to hour basis, than for the inhabitants.)

This can't be assumed. By "dangerous," I assume you mean a high rate of violent crime. It is almost always people who know each other and have a beef who are both the perpetrators and victims of violent crimes. Random violent crimes against strangers don't generally happen in the areas where violent crime is highest. Now, maybe you mean that the non-residents in these high-crime areas, because of what they're up to, are likely to end up in a beef with someone, which makes being there more dangerous for them (per unit time).

If so, it's not particularly rational for them to do what they're doing, so I don't know why you'd expect them to arm themselves (at least not rationally). I've known so many suburban white kids that have gone into very bad inner-city neighborhoods to buy drugs that I can't even count them. I don't know of one who brought a gun along for protection. (Anecdota, I admit, but it's stronger than any evidence presented to the contrary.)

But I also don't think you need the gun argument to make your point, Brett.

The argument you should be making, I think, is that it's much easier for cops to spot a car full of white kids in a high-crime, minority neighborhood, where they don't normally go, except to buy coke.

(Areas which would be even more dangerous for them, on an hour to hour basis, than for the inhabitants.)

This can't be assumed.

Exactly. If you are an inner-city resident involved in something criminal, the quickest way to bring the hammer of the law down on you and everyone you know would be to cause harm to someone from the suburbs, even if that someone is in town to buy drugs.

I'm beginning to think that Brett's only actual experience with cities comes from watching that one scene in "National Lampoon' Vacation" and "Adventures in Babysitting."

Judgement Night?

I have as little experience with life in high crime inner cities as I've been able to manage, thank you. The nice thing about crime reports, victimization surveys, and the like, is that they enable you to know strolling down Michigan Avenue in Detroit after midnight isn't a smart thing to do, without having to get mugged to learn it.

I live 5 minutes drive from one of the highest-crime areas in the country, East Oakland, and there is a certain amount of truth to the idea that minorities get searched a lot in aggregate because the police spend a lot of time in high-crime neighborhoods, and high-crime neighborhoods are often minority neighborhoods.

That does not explain why minorities get searched or pulled over a lot in low-crime neighborhoods or on the freeway. It is is not a logical conclusion from what I said above to think that minorities in low-crime neighborhoods are more likely to be criminals.

What I would want to see is that stop-and-search rates were similar in high-crime neighborhoods of whatever racial mix, and that stop-and-search rates for minorities in low-crime neighborhoods and freeways matched their prevalence in the population/traffic. I don't think that is the case and that's why I think paying attention to these stop-and-search rates is important.

And since the crime committed by people being stopped-and-searched is often that of possessing a pocket full of weed, which is about as dangerous as possessing a 6-pack of beer, and the consequences of being caught in this way can be quite severe, the whole policy is suspect as something that is a net good for the people in the neighborhood, which is after all what policing is supposed to be about. The one and only statistic I care about is how many people were carrying guns.

The nice thing about crime reports, victimization surveys, and the like, is that they enable you to know strolling down Michigan Avenue in Detroit after midnight isn't a smart thing to do, without having to get mugged to learn it.

And yet I've done so, and lived to tell the tale. Hell, I walked from Grand Circus Park to the Renaissance Center by myself, completely hammered, at 2am. I've also ridden my bicycle down Hough Avenue in Cleveland and through East Cleveland, and somehow am not dead.

So, I was pretty much right. Your only actual experience is with television, movies and your imagination.

So I was pretty much right. You have no use at all for painstakingly collected statistics unless they confirm what you already wanted to believe.

"And since the crime committed by people being stopped-and-searched is often that of possessing a pocket full of weed, which is about as dangerous as possessing a 6-pack of beer, and the consequences of being caught in this way can be quite severe, the whole policy is suspect as something that is a net good for the people in the neighborhood, which is after all what policing is supposed to be about. The one and only statistic I care about is how many people were carrying guns."

Well, we agree on the pot; The war on drugs is a crock. I suppose we're not going to agree about it being ok for the police to stop people without cause if they can catch them exercising a civil right 'liberals' tend not to approve of, though.

I could care less about gun control in general, but Oakland had 109 murders last year. I'm at least sympathetic to the idea that special circumstances demand special actions.

What would help is jobs, jobs, jobs. Oakland's overall unemployment rate is 17%, I am sure for young black & Hispanic men it's much higher. With a job and something to look forward to, the guns wouldn't be a problem.

A Fun Game: Compare and Contrast

Brett Bellmore, yesterday at 1pm:I think you and I must have some disagreement about what it means to have an opinion of somebody. I have opinions about individuals I've met. Concerning groups, all I have to go by are statistics, which tell me nothing at all about any particular individual I might encounter.

Brett Bellmore, just now: So I was pretty much right. You have no use at all for painstakingly collected statistics unless they confirm what you already wanted to believe.

I have actual experience living in and being in cities. I have never personally been robbed, mugged, raped, accosted, threatened at knife- or gunpoint, or otherwise been the victim of a violent crime. Nor has my home ever been broken into, even when I rented a house that literally had a crack den across the street. This is also true of, like, every single person I know. Literally, every single person. My car has been broken into exactly twice; once, last year, in a downtown parking lot, and once in 1993 in a movie theater parking lot in a college-town suburb.

You, on the other hand, have "painstakingly collected statistics" that confirm what you want to believe: That cities are just full of animalistic brown people waiting with drool on their chins to commit violent crimes against ol' white you. And if someone's actual, real-life experience differs from your expectations (since you have no actual experience), you accuse them of being deluded for not relying on abstractions.

I think I'll stick with real life. Feel free to live inside abstractions all you want. The rest of us are probably safer that way.

Phil, you're providing anecdotes. So, you walked down a street where my cousin got car-jacked, and lived to tell the tale... Five times out of six, you can pull the trigger in Russian Roulette, and not splatter your brains all over the wall. Does that make Russian Roulette safe?

Violent crimes are typically reported in incidents per 100,000 man-years. Detroit, for instance, had in 1999 2,254 violent crimes per man-year. That means you'd have to live there for on the order of 20 years to have a 50-50 chance of suffering a violent crime. And that's a Detroit-wide average, includes places like Greektown, that are pretty safe. In the worst neighborhoods, the violent crime rate might be ten times higher, and you'd STILL be able to live there for a couple of years without getting mugged, on average. Lotta empty chambers in that gun... Spinning the chamber a couple of times and getting away with it proves NOTHING.

But in Detroit's suburbs, where my mom lives, it was about 348 violent crimes per man-year. You'd have to live there for about 150 years to even have a 50-50 chance of suffering a violent crime, IOW, most people could live their whole lives there without getting mugged.

That's the difference between a moderately safe place, and fairly dangerous one. We're not talking about a scale of danger where you're certain to be shot if you walk down the street a couple of times. If inner cities were THAT dangerous, they'd evacuate them.

Now, I don't think you're actually innumerate. You just get dense when faced with data you don't like...

You're not any less racist as Bronx Bomber than you are as Jay Jerome, I see.

Just out of curiosity, Phil, do you have any response to BB's numbers, as opposed to his or her supposed motives? I mean, if his numbers are right, they're right even if he's an avatar of cosmic evil.

1. Bronx Bomber is Jay Jerome, and the only proper response to him is derision, ridicule and mockery. He's been repeatedly banned here, so he's only useful in the way that poking a dog through a fence with a stick is useful.

2. Sure, I have lots of responses, that have to do with the sociology of crime, and why crimes get committed, and who tend to be the victims of crimes and who do not, all of which play into the question of why blacks are arrested for crimes out of proportion to their representation in the population. But, being a virulent racist, he's no more educable on the topic than you are.

Short form: You think ad hominem is a valid form of argument.

Just out of curiosity, Phil, do you have any response to BB's numbers

They're not BB's, they're Heather McDonald's. She's a member of the Manhattan Institute and a writer for City Journal.

She offers no citations for her numbers.

Here is a map of crimes in NYC by precint. The bad spots are South Bronx, Harlem, Mid-town, Lower East Side, and Bedford-Stuyvestant and Browsville.

Bed-Stuy/Brownsville and Harlem are largely black. South Bronx is largely "minority", meaning black and Hispanic. Lower East Side is about evenly split between Asian, "minority", and the rest of the world. Mid-town is mostly white, although crime there is arguably less likely to be committed on or by residents, there's just a whole lot of people passing through there on any given day.

In the *context of New York City*, it's not unreasonable to say that violent crimes are more likely to be committed in black and Hispanic neighborhoods than not.

It's also pretty reasonable to say that NYC cops are pretty freaking likely to hassle black and Hispanic young men, in whatever neighborhood, regardless of whether they have any reason to suspect them of bad behavior or not.

Them's the facts.

Taking the *country as a whole*, violent crimes tend to occur in poor areas and areas where decent work and basic services are lacking. How dark-skinned the folks who live there are is kind of beside the point.

And amazingly enough, in large cities, the places that are poor, deficient in jobs, and deficient in services *also happen to be where the dreaded "minorities" live.

It ain't about the skin color. It's about the conditions under which people live.

I don't have the time to run down McDonald's numbers but when I have the chance I will. Off the top of my head, I think she's full of sh*t.

Brett, counting a flagrant troll like JJ as your ally doesn't inspire confidence in the honesty of your arguments. If you think that he is doing right by making false identities, why do you think he would be honest about numbers and why would we think that we could trust you? And given that you haven't responded to any of the points raised about your use of statistics, you are really making your argument from a weak limb.

You also realize that someone who is racist is probably not going to recognize racism in themselves. Given the fact that you took a post that notes 80% (which, noted in the comments, is more like 90%) and came up with a bogus statistical justification suggests suggests there is some niggling feeling in the back of your mind that you have to account for why you think that it is appropriate to stop blacks and Latinos at a rate of 9 to 1. I guess that's progress, but it explains why Buddhists viewed reaching enlightenment in terms of aeons...

I don't count him as ally. I just noticed that Phil was attacking the man, not the argument. If Jerome/BB's numbers are bogus, it ought to be possible to establish that without any attack on the motives behind them. Instead I saw an attack on the motives, without an attack on the numbers. That sort of thing always raises my hackles.

What do *I* think is going on here, with the crime statistics, and the stop numbers?

As to the crime statistics, I think we have a rather dysfunctional sub-culture in this country, which for a variety of historical reasons blacks and some other racial minorities are more likely to be members of than whites, and other racial minorities. But the problem is a culture, not a race, and members of any race who happen to be members of that culture are trouble.

And as to the stops, as I have repeatedly pointed out, given the racial demographics of crime in this nation, (And go ahead, tell me the results of victimization surveys are tainted by racism. I could use the laugh.) it would be essentially impossible for police interactions with minorities to reflect their proportions of the population.

This doesn't mean that racial disparities in interactions with the police are necessarily innocent. But it means you damned well have to prove that they're the result of racism, rather than just assuming it.

And, to repeat, it's pretty clear something is wrong when nearly 99% of the people being stopped are innocent. That something might even be racism, but I haven't seen much proof of it. But there is something wrong there.

Another list!

Short form: You think ad hominem is a valid form of argument.

1. No, it's that I am not arguing with him, I am making fun of him. But that you would so quickly latch onto his cited (unsupported) numbers and seize them for your own is . . . telling.

2. Aren't you the guy who says all politicians are sociopaths? And frequently refers to the "fact" that all liberals this and that and the other? Don't lecture me on ad hom, son. You're a past master.

Instead I saw an attack on the motives, without an attack on the numbers. That sort of thing always raises my hackles.

Except when you're over at The Reality-Based Community doing stuff like this and this, I guess.

And go ahead, tell me the results of victimization surveys are tainted by racism. I could use the laugh.

Do you really want me to start citing cases where violent crime victims, for one reason or another, misidentify assailants, up to and including their race? Because there are a lot more than you apparently would think, in some cases identifying Hispanics as black, in some cases identifying perpetrators as black in order to protect a white person, in some cases identifying a perpetrator as a racial minority when they could not possibly have seen the person's face, and so forth. Don't be a sucker. Crime victims are no more or less inherently honest or prone to mistake (or maliciousness) than any other group of people.

I mean, how the hell do you think innocent people end up in prison in the first place? I *know* you've heard of Tawana Brawley. And the Central Park Jogger. And the woman last fall who claimed some black guy carved a "D" in her face. Don't play the naif all of a sudden. It just makes you look dumb.

Phil, stuff like my quoting Gallup on how their generic ballot numbers are essentially worthless until shortly before the election? Oh, yeah, quoting a polling firm telling you to place little faith in their numbers is notoriously fallacious.

1. Bronx Bomber is Jay Jerome

I don't know how you could possibly be sure of that. I am not sure of that, and I'm in a much better position to find out than you are.

Posting style. It's a dead giveaway. Also, the topic is one of his hobbyhorses.

But the problem is a culture, not a race, and members of any race who happen to be members of that culture are trouble.

Thanks for making your position on this clear, I personally appreciate it.

Agreed, and the only thing I'd add to your comment above is that the "dysfunctional culture" is plural. Which is to say, there are a few of them.

The urban chronically poor are certainly among them.

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