Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Cops, Stops and Racialists

Here we go again. Sigh. Yet another study publicized in the Minneapolis Star Tribune showing a "disparity" between whites and minorities in some aspect of the criminal justice system. I am not a statistician, but just using common sense, one can raise questions about the study:

Did you control for poverty?

Did you get the racial population figures from statewide data, citywide data, or on a comprehensive examination of the racial makeup of individuals whom the police encountered on the street?

Are there any measurable differences in behavior among different races/cultures?

Answering these questions might call into question their main thesis, so don't hold your breath for a response.

The Big Trunk and Rocketman over at Powerline have written various rebuttals to these apparently shoddy pieces of scholarship, including this one. I anticipate that the new study will trigger another rebuttal. The Strib article does nibble around the edges of the truth in saying that community leaders have alleged that "police used arrests or citations of low-level crimes against people of color as a fishing expedition that might lead to charges for more serious crimes." That statement is true if you delete "people of color."

Trunk and Rocketman have pointed out that Minneapolis officials implemented the same "broken windows" policing that Mayor Rudy Guiliani had employed in New York City. The resulting CODEFOR program worked to reduce the crime rate that had given rise to the nickname, "Murderapolis." After an outcry from racialists, the broken windows policing diminished and the crime rate went back up.

Another criticism of the study is that it ignores the fact that racial "disparities" remain constant all the way from victim identification through imprisonment. This is important because the victim does not choose the race of his/her perpetrator, and has the greatest motive to ensure that the correct person is apprehended.

I am sure that there are more holes in the Council on Crime and Justice study, but I don't want to steal any of Powerline's thunder.


Blogger Marty said...

Man, I'm voting in the wrong area. I just got a sticker and muddy shoes when I placed my ballot. A donut would so make my day.

November 12, 2004 4:59 PM  
Blogger Marty said...

that comment belongs in the previous post, apologies.

I still could go for a donut.

November 12, 2004 5:03 PM  

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