Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Racial Disparity in Police Arrests

Between 1999 and 2015 the racial disparity in police arrests has increased substantially across the United States. During this period the extent to which Black Americans are arrested at a higher rate than White Americans has grown significantly. During the same period the disparity in police arrests of Asian Americans and American Indians has also grown compared to White Americans.

The Racial Disparities in Police Arrests Map uses FBI data on nationwide arrests (reported by 13,917 police agencies across the United States) to show the disparity in police arrests. The arrest risk ratio used on the map takes into account local population demographics. For example, if 10% of the local population is African-American and 40% of all arrests are of African-Americans then that is a large racial disparity.

In 1999 the average police agency in the United States arrested 5.48 African-Americans for every White person arrested. In 2015 this had risen to an average of 9.25 African-Americans being arrested for every White person arrested. So in sixteen years the racial disparity in people being arrested in the United States almost doubled.

The Racial Disparities in Police Arrests Map was created to illustrate a working paper for the Institute for Policy Research by Beth Redbird and Kat Albrecht. You can view the paper itself on the IPR website, Racial Disparity in Arrests Increased as Crime Rates Declined.

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