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By Paul Ariste

First released in 1997. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Laub concludes that "race appears to be a key variable in accounting for variation in urban and rural crime rates as well as crime rates across various place size categories" (1983:193). Other researchers have controlled for the various "confounding" variables that Young and Sulton believe will make the black/white difference disappear. S. 46). Sampson's (1985) study of homicide rates in the 55 Racial Differences in Criminal Behavior 25 largest U. S. 55) had more than twice the explanatory power of other variables in the regression such as population size, poverty, racial income inequality, and unemployment.

The offense for which police arguably have the most discretion, and therefore the greatest opportunity to exercise any biases they may have, is driving under the influence (a Part II Index crime). Yet, this is the only Index offense for which African Americans are consistently under-represented in the arrest data, which I interpret as less involvement in drunken driving among African Americans. Additionally, the vast proportion of police activity is reactive rather than proactive. That is, they respond to reports of crimes by citizens rather than initiate arrests proactively, which again restricts them from exercising any biases they may harbor.

If follows that African Americans stand to benefit more than any other group from a candid examination of crime, criminality, and its causes. RACE BASED CRIME DATA It is undeniable that in contrast to all other racial and ethnic groups in the United States, African American crime rates are disproportionately high. 8 percent of the U. S. population, thus arrest rates for African Americans would fluctuate randomly around that percentage if race were irrelevant to predicting the probability of criminal behavior.

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