Black Crime in PA

By James P. Lubinskas


American Renaissance - 8 - December 1999 Crime in Pennsylvania by James P. Lubinskas

Every year the Pennsylvania State Police release a report on crimes and arrests from the previous year. The report for 1998, released in September, confirms that blacks are arrested at considerably higher rates than whites. Pennsylvania figures make good black/white comparisons because the state has so few people of other races. According to the census bureau, the 1998 population was 85.9 percent white, 9.7 percent black, 2.6 percent Hispanic, 1.7 percent Asian, and 0.1 percent American Indian. Hispanic criminals are categorized as white, while Asians and American Indians are lumped together with blacks in the “non-white” category. This distorts racial comparisons but only slightly.

The first graph on the next page compares the rates at which blacks and whites are arrested for 13 different crimes. In all cases, the white arrest rate is set to one, which is represented by the dotted line that runs near the bottom of the graph. The columns represent black arrest rates. Columns that are lower than the dotted line mean blacks are less likely than whites to be arrested for those crimes; columns higher than the dotted line mean blacks are more likely. The numbers along the vertical axis show how much more (or less) likely blacks are to be arrested. For example, blacks are nearly 19 times more likely that whites, per capita, to be arrested for robbery. At the other extreme, they are less likely than whites to be arrested for violation of liquor laws–only about two thirds as likely. The crimes are graphed in the order in which the black multiple of the white arrest rate increases, which reveals a pattern. In Pennsylvania–as for the rest of the country–blacks are generally no more likely than whites to be arrested for alcohol-related offenses. Nor is there a large differential for vandalism. The black/ white multiple picks up rapidly for non-violent crimes like arson, burglary, larceny, and drug offenses, but is highest for violent crimes, particularly murder and robbery. These are the same patterns found in the country as a whole.

Pennsylvania also collects “ethnic intimidation and hate crime data.” In 1998 there were 227 race-based hate crimes, of which whites were victims in 102 or 44.9 percent, while blacks were victims in 109 or 48 percent. Asians were victims of 16 hate crimes. There were also 25 anti-Hispanic crimes, reported separately as ethnic rather than racial offenses. As for race of offenders, 39 percent were “not reported,” 49 percent were white, and 12 percent were black. Two Hispanic offenders were listed as white. While blacks are overrepresented as victims of racial hate crimes (9.7 per- cent of the population but 48 percent of the victims) they are also overrepresented as perpetrators (12.1 percent). In fact, blacks are slightly more than twice as likely as whites to commit hate crimes. The second graph indicates this multiple as well as several others. Blacks are approximately four times more likely than whites to be arrested for property crimes and almost ten times more likely to be arrested for violent crimes. These multiples are, likewise, similar to data for the nation as a whole. The Pennsylvania State Police Uni- form Crime Report can be ordered free of charge by calling (717) 783-5556. The report can also be read on-line at



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