Desegregation of America’s neighborhoods can save blacks and Hispanics from being killed by police officers, according to a study published in the Social Science & Medicine journal.
The researchers, led by Odis Johnson Jr., a sociology professor at Washington University in St. Louis, analyzed a database that included details on nearly 1,700 fatal interactions with police (FIP) that occurred across the U.S. from May 2013 to January 2015.
The researchers concluded that low levels of racial segregation dramatically reduce the risks of black males being killed by police officers. higher levels of segregation increased the odds for Hispanic males.
“Black males’ odds of a FIP were dramatically lowered in neighborhoods with a relatively low percentage of black residents,” the researchers write. “This suggests that racially mixed neighborhoods to some degree shield black males from police homicides.”
Furthermore, in neighborhoods with high levels of income inequality, such as poor areas undergoing gentrification, males of color face a higher risk of being killed during interactions with police; Hispanic men face the highest risk.
“Our results concerning Hispanic males are perhaps the most important that we oﬀer, since one could argue the majority of media and public attention about FIPs have concerned black males,” the researchers write.
“This analysis in contrast suggest that we should give careful consideration to the geospatial and institutional circumstances in which the odds of having FIPs becomes greatest for particular race-gender classiﬁcations, rather than assuming black males are placed at greatest risk in all contexts.”
The findings support the work of historian Richard Rothstein, a distinguished fellow of the Economic Policy Institute.
In his latest book, “The Color of Law,” Rothstein chronicles the history of racial segregation in the U.S., pinpointing President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s as the start of a deliberate government plan to create and enforce residential segregation.
Rothstein contends that systemic residential segregation continues to champion inequality and injustice in all areas.
Although America’s demographics have been gradually changing, with one study predicting that whites in the U.S. will become a “minority” by 2045, an investigation by the Washington Post shows that neighborhoods are still deeply segregated.
A full copy of the current study can be downloaded here.
J. Gabriel Ware is a contributing writer for The Crime Report.