New Study Proves African American Males Are Targeted For Arrest More Than Other Groups


A new study released in the journal Crime & Delinquency makes the bold assertion that almost half of males in the United States have been arrested by the time they are 23-years-old. More importantly, it’s data shows a discrepancy of around 10% between African American and Caucasian male arrest rates. But far from this demonstrating higher crime rates in African American communities, the data reveals something altogether different which most have overlooked.

To begin with, the study focuses on data from teens and young adults, demonstrating about half of African American teens and young adults have been arrested, with almost 40% of Caucasians trailing just behind them. Now hold that thought, we’ll get to what else the study says and then come back to that…

The study was published by Robert Brame, Shawn D. Bushway, Ray Paternoster and Michael G. Turner, under the title “Demographic Patterns of Cumulative Arrest Prevalence by Ages 18 and 23“. The study focused on analyzed national survey data which spanned from 1997 to 2008. Arrests ranged from truancy to underage drinking, as well as serious crimes, but the study did exclude minor traffic offenses.

Brame, a professor of criminology from the University of South Carolina and the head the study, explained that this is the first report since the 1960s that demonstrates there is a greater risk of being arrested in the United States if you are African American and male. 

The study looked at arrest rates amongst females of different backgrounds, but saw little variation as compared to males of different ethnic groups. Brame says that there is a need to develop an understanding of the economic, social and law enforcement factors that influence this discrepancy in which groups get arrested more often.

“As a society, we often worry a great deal about the effects of children watching television, eating junk food, playing sports and having access to good schools,” Brame said. “Experiencing formal contact with the criminal justice system could also have powerful effects on behavior and impose substantial constraints on opportunities for America’s youth. We know from our two studies that these experiences are prevalent and that they vary across different demographic groups. Going forward it will be constructive to support systematic studies into the sources of these variations and to continue efforts to understand the effects of criminal justice interventions on sanctions on future behavior.”

The study reveals a few startling points which can lead us to a few conclusions regarding racism in the United States.

Some have suggested this data demonstrates that crime rates are higher in African American neighborhoods. But this is not at all what the study shows. The data also demonstrates Caucasian women are more likely to be arrested than African American women. If crime itself was higher amongst African Americans, then we should expect to see the crime rate higher amongst African American women too. Instead, we find just the opposite.

First, by age 18, 30% of African America males, 26% of Hispanic males and 22% of Caucasian males have been arrested. Similarly, by age 23, 49% of African American males, 44% of Hispanic males and 38% of Caucasian males have been arrested.

But the report also found that by age 18, arrest rates were 12% for Caucasian females and 11.8% and 11.9% for Hispanic and African American females, respectively. Similarly, by age 23, arrest rates were 20% for Caucasian females and 18% and 16% for Hispanic and African America females, respectively.

This data disproves claims made by people who believe that African American males are arrested in higher numbers because African Americans commit more crimes. Some who make these claims believe this is because of racial inferiority. Others believe that they are not racist, but that African Americans commit more crimes because of social issues. But the thing that both have over-looked is the fact that in either scenario, we should see African American female arrest rates higher than Caucasian rates unless there is something very different going on.

Because we see just the opposite, we must reach a different conclusion. That conclusion is that African American males specifically are targeted by law enforcement for arrest at higher rates than any other group. African American females are often not perceived by predominantly Caucasian law enforcement officers as a “threat”. Without knowing it, Professor Brame’s study has revealed something that African Americans have been saying for generations.

(Article by M.B. David and Shante Wooten; image via PBSpot)

3 Comments on "New Study Proves African American Males Are Targeted For Arrest More Than Other Groups"

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  1. Gerald says:

    Blacks been knowing and proving this for Over a hundred years. The point is ” What’s being done about it”?

  2. Nat Turner says:

    It’s just a pity African Americans don’t conduct studies such as the one here,
    or the world could have heard about racist policing long ago.
    Gerald I’m not copying your line, just noticed it, but
    what is going to be done about this.
    If they did another study they’d find Black males all agree on the above.

  3. Armond says:

    maybe Ann Coulter will quote this study…when speaking of American Crime…but I doubt it…seems some folks have always viewed black folk…as less than them…and
    not deserving of the same rights…so maybe it is the truth…that being black is the crime

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