crime Highest Among Communities of Color

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Dec 26, 2016 (San Diego) The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) has put out the crime data for 2015. Usually, these statistics lag a year from the calendar. Last year the data reveals that violent crime affects blacks three times as much as whites. Never mind Countywide they are only 14 percent of the population

We are linking to the full report

There is more, according to the data “individuals who identified as White were underrepresented in all crime categories except rape.” Blacks were overrepresented in all four categories. These are homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. They were anywhere from three to five times more affected than other groups.

When it comes to age groups, this is critical:

 Crime victimization also varied by age, adults 18 to 39 years old comprising a larger proportion of victims than their proportion in the population. This overrepresentation held true across all crime categories for these two age groups. Children and teens, while underrepresented in general among violent crime victims, were overrepresented among rape victims.

The fact that children are over-represented in rape cases is also explained by the fact that many are victimized by people they know, family, or people in positions of authority they trust.

The data reveals other important aspects. According to the report:

 Similar to all violent crime, a victim’s race/ethnicity and age often differed from their overall proportion in the general population. Specifically, 20 percent of homicide victims were Black, even though Blacks are only 4 percent of the population, and most of these Black victims were young adults (59%) and all were males (not shown). White homicide victims, on the other hand, were slightly underrepresented (39% compared to 46% of population), were mostly older (67% were 40 years old or above), and had the highest proportion of females than other race/ethnicities (45%). Hispanics had the largest proportion of children and young adults who were homicide victims (9% 17 and under and 43% 18 to 24 years old).

This matches one thing that the FBI data comes across often. People who are killed, generally speaking, know their assailant. Also, that this crime tends to happen inside a group.

The report also reveals something that is not that surprising, sadly, males are over-represented.

There are some differences as well when it comes to motive.

 Examination of the 69 homicides where the motive was known provides some insight into the variation in homicide victim characteristics. As in past years, an argument (49%) was the most frequently noted motive in 2015, followed by a domestic violence incident (20%), gang involvement (16%), and some other motive (child abuse, drugs, robbery, burglary) (14%). As with other violent crimes, the motives did vary by race/ethnicity. Specifically, for Black homicide victims where a motive was known, over two-thirds (67%) were attributed to gangs, whereas an argument was the most prevalent known motive in homicides involving a White, Hispanic, or Other homicide victim.

This is also important. Many people do believe that murder is a common thing with gangs. While gangs are up there, in reality, arguments and domestic violence top the list. Incidentally, these are the most dangerous calls all first responders can go to, not those involving gangs. However, youth gangs still figure high in the crime when it came to blacks, less so Hispanic. Youth gangs are not just the only gangs. So when talking gangs, we could be talking of motorcycle gangs.

That said, we must offer a large qualifier in this. The data point is not an explanation in itself. This should not be taken as an indication of more or less violence within a group. This data points, however, leads to questions of how resources are used in a community to reduce and abate the problem. Youth gangs have been with us for almost as long as urban areas have existed. Whether it was the Irish gangs in New York during the civil war period, or in modern day inner city. Nor are the gangs just represented by one social subgroup. Why we ask caution when it comes to gangs and who belongs to them. Nor are they limited to just one group. According to the FBI, there are also other gangs, including white supremacist groups and biker gangs.

When it comes to rape, the report included male rape, 10 percent of all cases reported. Of significance, this is the first year this was added to the FBI in 2015. Rape is the least reported crime, and male rape is almost unheard off.

What the data does raise is a question. Why is it hate the communities most affected by anything are ignored? This data should have led to the appointed of a member of the South of the Eight communities to the city community specifically dealing with this and police oversight. People who are part of the community and understand it, are part of the solution. Instead, new city leaders seem to be ignoring them.

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