The Color of Crime

Race, Crime, and Justice in America — Second, Expanded Edition, 2005

Major Findings:

  • Police and the justice system are not biased against minorities.

Crime Rates

  • Blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery.
  • When blacks commit crimes of violence, they are nearly three times more likely than non-blacks to use a gun, and more than twice as likely to use a knife.
  • Hispanics commit violent crimes at roughly three times the white rate, and Asians commit violent crimes at about one quarter the white rate.
  • The single best indicator of violent crime levels in an area is the percentage of the population that is black and Hispanic.

Interracial Crime

  • Of the nearly 770,000 violent interracial crimes committed every year involving blacks and whites, blacks commit 85 percent and whites commit 15 percent.
  • Blacks commit more violent crime against whites than against blacks. Forty-five percent of their victims are white, 43 percent are black, and 10 percent are Hispanic. When whites commit violent crime, only three percent of their victims are black.
  • Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery.
  • Blacks are 2.25 times more likely to commit officially-designated hate crimes against whites than vice versa.

Gangs

  • Only 10 percent of youth gang members are white.
  • Hispanics are 19 times more likely than whites to be members of youth gangs. Blacks are 15 times more likely, and Asians are nine times more likely.

Incarceration

  • Between 1980 and 2003 the US incarceration rate more than tripled, from 139 to 482 per 100,000, and the number of prisoners increased from 320,000 to 1.39 million.
  • Blacks are seven times more likely to be in prison than whites. Hispanics are three times more likely.

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The Color of Crime is an expanded version of a monograph on crime first published by NCF in 1999. The older version of the report is located here.