Interracial Crime Study Finds Whites More Likely to Assault Blacks Than the Reverse

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Whites are more likely to assault and use weapons against African Americans and Hispanics than the reverse, according to a study in the International Review of Law and Economics

The study, based in part on data obtained from the Los Angeles Police Department for the years 2000 to 2007 on interracial “face to face” crimes, found that whites were roughly 13 percent more likely to assault African Americans and Hispanics, and that whites were approximately 0.5 percent more likely to use weapons against them than those two ethnic groups are likely to use weapons against whites.

The study authors restricted their analysis to four types of “face-to-face” crime: homicide, robbery, assault, and weapon use, noting that “conditional on the suspect and victim being white, Hispanic or black [. . .] these four crimes account for 66 percent of reported crime.”

In interactions between blacks and Hispanic suspects and white victims, blacks and Hispanics were found less likely to assault whites and more likely to commit robbery and weapons crimes against Whites than the reverse.

Face-to-face crimes involving a white suspect and a white victim are most likely to be assaults, while incidents that pair a white suspect with a black or Hispanic victim are more likely to involve robbery, assault and weapons use.

The pattern of violence shown in the study produced a picture at variance with previous research drawing from aggregate data, the authors said.

“Blacks/Hispanics assault and use weapons against Whites more often than Whites assault and use weapons against Blacks/Hispanics, but these relationships flip once we control for neighborhood and time effects in a panel data setting,” the authors wrote.

The pattern of whites committing acts of violence against blacks and Hispanics was found to be consistent across most of Los Angeles.

“We observe this pattern of violence committed by white individuals across almost all types of neighborhoods in Los Angeles County, and the pattern is stronger in neighborhoods that are wealthier and have a greater population density of white individuals,” the authors said.

The study, published in December 2018, was conducted by Gregory DeAngelo of Claremont Graduate University; R. Kaj Gittings of Texas Tech University; and Anita Alves Pena of Colorado State University.

Of all reported crimes, 37.7 percent identify the race of the suspect and victim. Of that fraction of reported crimes, 75.1 percent involved suspects and victims whose race was either white, African American, or Hispanic.

In relation to all reported crimes in Los Angeles, assaults were found to be more likely among whites, blacks, and Hispanics. This group comprised 41.8 percent of assaults, which is 14.5 percent of all reported crimes.

Variance over time in neighborhood arrest rates, policing practices, economic conditions, and demographic changes were included in the analysis. These elements contribute to changes in the cost-benefit analysis of committing crime, general racial attitudes, and social norms which may change over time.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded here. Access is restricted to members of the host website, but a copy of the study can be purchased.

This summary was prepared by TCR news intern John Ramsey. Readers’ comments are welcome.