Do police shootings reveal racism or the incidence of crime?
Black Lives Matter activists seem to think police shooting statistics should reflect population statistics. If 13 percent of the population is black, so the thinking goes, then something is wrong when 28 percent of the victims of police shootings are black.
But, as Heather McDonald argues, police work isn’t randomly distributed among the population. The police respond to crime and most crimes are committed by blacks. “In America’s 75 largest counties, comprising most of the nation’s population, blacks constituted 62 percent of all robbery defendants in 2009, 57 percent of all murder defendants, and 45 percent of all assault defendants — but roughly 15 percent of the population in those counties.”
She continues: “The data-driven, proactive policing revolution that began in the mid-1990s has saved tens of thousands of black lives that would have otherwise been lost to urban gun violence had crime remained at its early 1990s rate. Unfortunately, those crime gains are now at risk, thanks to the false narrative that police officers are infected with homicidal bias.”
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