Many factors contribute to a person’s likelihood of committing or becoming a victim of crime. The race of the criminal is one factor, but it’s not the only one. The U.S. Census Bureau collects annual crime and arrests broken down by race in its Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) program.
However, these statistics can be misleading because they don’t consider all the variables that affect crime rates, such as age, gender, income level, and education attainment. When we look at this data more closely, it becomes clear that there are significant differences between racial groups regarding criminal activity and arrest rates for violent crimes like murder and rape.
The United States is a country with one of the highest homicide rates in the world. In 2015, there were 16,121 homicides in America. Of these victims, 90 percent were killed by someone they knew, and only 6 percent of all murders involved a stranger. Most homicide victims are male (76%), and most are between 20-34 years old (35%).
While people from all racial groups experience violence at similar rates within their racial group, when it comes to interracial crimes, white Americans are disproportionately victimized compared to other races. For example, in 2014, black Americans committed 52% of reported single-offender hate crimes against whites, while white offenders accounted for just over 14%.
White Americans commit roughly 60% of all US homicides but make up less than 50% of the population, so they’re much more likely than any other race to be murdered by someone who isn’t white. Overall though, blacks account for nearly half (48%) of those arrested for murder and nonnegligent manslaughter despite being only 13% of the US population according to FBI data on arrests from 2013 -2015.
This means that African American men have an arrest rate for murder ten times higher than that for all men nationwide and an arrest rate 23 times higher than non-Hispanic white men.
Visit our blog section to learn more about how the crime rate is affected by race.