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BLACK MEN AND CRIME: CoMo/Boone arrest stats suggest media bias

Statistics support Mizzou professor's idea

COLUMBIA, Mo 10/26/15 (Beat Byte) -- Just 29.6% -- less than a third -- of persons arrested for crimes in Columbia and Boone County are black males, a review of 526 mugshots from Sept. 17 to Oct. 25 shows  

Sixty two percent (62%) are Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American.   Twenty six percent (26%) are women

Felony and violent crime is as prevalent among non-black Columbia/Boone County suspects as it is black suspects.  

Among the charges white persons faced in the past month:  unlawful use of a weapon; stealing; assault; burglary; forgery; aggravated stalking; probation and parole violations; and identity theft.

Despite the statistics, 56.5% of arrests reported in the Columbia Daily Tribune during the same period involved black males.  Public perception follows suit.

"The headlines speak for themselves," Trib commenter "Buckles" wrote last week, urging the community to admit that "young black men beat up on women and kids."
 
But so do white men.  And Hispanic men.   And women. 

The Columbia/Boone County statistics support a hypothesis Mizzou Journalism School professor Cynthia Frisby, Ph.D. presented at Thursday's Black Studies Fall Conference:   the media over-reports -- and even hypes -- crime by African-American men.  

Television, radio, Internet, newspapers, and other news organizations stereotype young black males as entertainers, athletes, or criminals, Frisby told the audience. 

White-caused violent crime is routinely reported as an inexplicable "aberration" from normal behavior, she noted.   White shooters are "mentally disturbed lone wolves," while black shooters are gang-bangers or thugs acting in the normal course of business or life. 

White children are usually described as "innocent."   Black children, in media reports, lose their innocence by age 13-14.  

The Boone County Sheriff's Department and the Tribune's Neighborhoods section archive the mugshots reviewed for roughly a month.   But the sample size is large enough to suggest the statistics are accurate.

They're also comparable to national FBI statistics

69.3% of persons arrested for crimes in 2012 were white; 28.1% were black.   Likewise, men constituted 73.8% of arrests that year; women, 26.2%

The arrest statistics not only suggest the media unfairly portrays black males, but also police officers, who arrest over twice as many white suspects and nearly as many women. 


 
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