What with race, law enforcement, and crime being much in the news this month, you might think we’d see more reference to the most authoritative official statistics on the subject. Here are the latest FBI statistics on murder offenders by race:
At this point, 29.5% of 2018 murderers are of unknown race, whether because the case hasn’t been cleared yet or because the local agency didn’t get around to reporting the race to the federal government.
Of the 11,514 murder offenders in 2018 where the race of the offender is known by now, 6,318 of the offenders were black: 54.9%.
Blacks make up 13.4% of the population at present.
So, blacks in 2018 were 7.9 times more likely per capita to be murder offenders than the rest of the population.
Here’s how to do the arithmetic:
(54.9% / 13.4%) / ((100% – 54.9%) / (100% – 13.4%))
In recent generations, this black to all else homicide offender ratio goes up and down somewhat, depending upon what drugs are hot, the political climate, and so forth, but usually winds up a little under 8X. For example, in 2011 the Obama Administration’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that blacks made up 52.5% of homicide offenders over the 29 years from 1980 to 2008:
You could also calculate the black to white ratio in addition to the black to all else ratio, but government crime statistics are notoriously poor at disentangling Hispanics from whites (unlike virtually all other government statistics, where this process was usually completed between 1970 and 2000). The 2018 FBI statistics include these footnotes:
1 Not all agencies provide ethnicity data; therefore, the race and ethnicity totals will not equal.
2 Includes American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.
These stats would seem rather relevant to current discussions, but for some reason, the just never seem to come up…