The FBI will begin collecting nationwide data on ethnicity next year to be published in its annual Uniform Crime Report, making it possible to test the assertion of some advocacy groups that police arrest Latinos — a multiracial ethnic group — at higher rates than non-Hispanic whites, the Huffington Post reports. The move marks the revival of an earlier FBI effort to collect crime data by ethnicity, abandoned in 1987.
The FBI tabulates arrest data by race, with categories for white, black, Asian or Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaska Native. Latinos, who can belong to any race provided they have Latin American heritage, effectively vanish from the agency's published records. The FBI's new approach would bring the agency's policy closer in line with the U.S. Census Bureau, even as that agency considers changing its classification of “Hispanic” from ethnicity to race. The FBI's new policy also adds a fifth racial category by separating Asians from Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders.