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Myth:Poor people, immigrants and minorities are committing the most crime

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Egalitarian Zetetic Donating Member (255 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-26-04 12:31 PM
Original message
Myth:Poor people, immigrants and minorities are committing the most crime
Edited on Wed May-26-04 12:40 PM by Egalitarian Zetetic
http://home.att.net/~Resurgence/L-poorcrime.htm


----------------------snip--------------------
Say the word "criminal," and the image that comes to the mind of most people is a street criminal usually poor, usually black, usually armed with a gun.

In terms of sheer damage, however, the crimes of the poor do not even begin to compare with the rich. In 1993, the property loss to theft and robbery amounted to $15.3 billion. (1) But white-collar embezzlement costs about $200 billion a year! (2) So conditioned are we to ignore the crimes of the middle and upper classes that the FBI does not even list this statistic in its authoritative annual report, Crime in the United States. The very way we think of crime is racist and classist to its core.

The same is true of murder. Officially, the FBI counted 23,271 murders in 1993. (3) But a truer figure would run at least 318,368, even by the incomplete and conservative count listed below. Society has simply conditioned us not to think of the deaths caused by corporations as murder. For example, when a criminal breaks into someone's home and shoots a family of six, we have no trouble identifying that as mass murder. But what about the mine disaster that kills 26 miners -- after the owners had committed 1,250 safety violations in the last 13 years? (4) If the mine owner callously and knowingly risks human lives in his pursuit of profits, shouldn't he then be guilty of murder?

Murder is defined as "unlawful killing with malice aforethought." Clearly, a mine owner who has been lawfully warned that his mines are unsafe has the requisite foreknowledge of likely death. And the mine owner who would then choose to ignore those warnings in his quest for profits clearly displays the requisite malice towards his fellow human beings. An analogy best describes this similarity. Suppose someone puts out a $100,000 contract on your life, causing a gangster to show up at your door one day and kill you. He may not have known you, or held a personal grudge against you. He did it for the money -- that is, with cold-blooded malice aforethought. The same is true of a businessman who desires to earn an extra $100,000 in profits when scientists have already warned him that this action will drive up the percentage of worker or consumer deaths
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AspenRose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-26-04 12:36 PM
Response to Original message
1. Don't forget to include immigrants in the myth
Wasn't that moron Savage saying something about prisons being 1/3 illegal immigrants?
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-26-04 12:41 PM
Response to Original message
2. I Lived in Northeastern Cities in the 70's
and was acutely aware of the dangers of urban crime. Any caucasian who did not feel endangered walking through a poor black neighborhood was oblivious to their own safety. But the only time I was actually physically attacked on the street was by two white men.

I own several houses in a mixed blue-collar section of Baltimore, and as far as I'm concerned, the poor whites are the ones to watch out for. Sorry if that sounds reverse racism -- just my observation to balance the other stereotypes.
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demigoddess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-26-04 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. same here
I grew up in the military and was around lots of black men, some carrying guns, and I never felt safer than when on base. Most of the black people I have know would give you the shirt off their back, and are friendly and loving people. I cannot always say the same of white people. The difference between a man you can trust and one who is dangerous is a decent paying job.
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w13rd0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-26-04 12:48 PM
Response to Original message
3. If one speaks in dollar figures or ruined lives...
...wealthy white men have the monopoly on high crimes...no amount of petty larceny will ever amount to a fraction of what they rob and bilk the US people for on an annual basis...
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Snow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-26-04 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
5. There's a major problem with crime stats,
beyond the obvious one that they concentrate on the crimes poor people commit. This is called in epidemiology "ascertainment bias" and involves an expectation on the part of those collecting the data that certain areas or groups harbor more of the disease, so they look harder in those areas. Suppose you're a public health officer in Omaha Nebraska, and you worry a lot about chicken pox amongst the Mexican kids in south-east Omaha. So you send field workers to south Omaha constantly, you check the school absence records for that area, and anything that even resembles chicken pox in the Mexican community you call chicken pox. So you collect all the information about all the chicken pox cases in south Omaha, and maybe even some cases that aren't chicken pox, and you can show that you've got a huge risk in that community in part because you've focussed all your efforts there.

Same thing happens with crime. The data collectors, ie the cops, know where the high crime areas and people are, so they go to those areas, really watch those people, and collect data on all the crimes that happen there, while largely ignoring the areas they know are low-crime areas. ANd when the crime report data comes out, it shows those expected areas to be the dangerous places, full of crime, and the other areas to be quiet. I wouldn't call crime reports worthless and imply that the 'bad' areas don't have problems - but those crime stats have some very strong built-in institutional biases.
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camero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-26-04 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
6. It's all the same
It's just the same if you starve someone to death economically as if you shot them. It's still murder.

Now you know why I don't like businessmen and women in general. Here in Florida I assume they are already crooks and watch my back because there are so few punished when they break the law. Buyer Beware.


Good post and great points. I agree with you 100%.
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forgethell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-26-04 01:53 PM
Response to Original message
7. It's because
violent crime is what is feared. Embezzlement is bad, armed robbery is feared. The amount of money isn't the issue, physical fear is. Same with your murder hypotheses. Actually, it is a crime to ignore safety violations. I suspect that it would be at least a case of voluntary manslaughter. But even reckless disregard for human life is not on the same low moral plane as the deliberate, willful taking of a life for revenge, murder, to silence a witness, etc.

At least that is my opinion of why it is this way.
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-26-04 02:50 PM
Response to Original message
8. The Poor and Minorities Commit More Public Crimes
You can't drive through West Baltimore these days without seeing drug dealers flagging down cars all over the place. Most of them are black. I don't think there's any greater incidence of drug abuse among blacks, but they're more economically desperate and more reckless as a result. The police are more apt to look for dealers in these neighborhoods and arrest them, and the suspect is more likely to be charged, convicted, and jailed.

Same goes for prostitution. Upper-middle whites can look in the yellow pages under escort services and the whole transaction is private. Poor hookers walk the streets.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-26-04 08:18 PM
Response to Original message
9. What hurts you more personally?
Being hit over the head and having $1000 missing from your wallet, or being victimized by an embezzler who figured out a way to take a penny from you and 99,999 other people? Not trying to dismiss white collar crime--just pointing out that the damage tends to be more spread out over a larger population, so people just don't feel it as much despite more cumulative damage.
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noiretextatique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-26-04 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. it not what hurts people more, it's what they fear more
and you are correct...they fear the things that *could* affect them most intimately. and that's what some prey on...the fear of what *might* happen.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-27-04 06:00 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. 5 AL KIDDYA TURRISTS ALOOSE IN AMURIKA!!!
Coming soon to a town near you!

:hi:
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noiretextatique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-27-04 06:47 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. ROTFLMAO....i'm more afraid
:hi: of bush, inc and all those aloose republicones :scared:
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lanparty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-26-04 09:41 PM
Response to Original message
10. Quality vs QUANTITY

If you look at overall nubers ... sure you could make the case. However, if you added up the economic impact, Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling would beat all the poor put together.

If anyone deserves the death penalty, it's THEM!!!!!!

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