Bloomberg’s false racist claims about who commits crime

11 Feb , 2015  

At 41:10 into this Q&A session in Aspen, Colorado last week, Michael Bloomberg made this claim about who the criminals are

First thing is . . . 95% of your murderers and murder victims fit one MO. You can just take the description, xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops,” said Bloomberg at an event in Aspen, Colorado in February 2015. “They are male, minority, 15 to 25. That is true in New York. That is true in virtually every city.… That is what Stop and Frisk is all about.… Put the cops where the crime is. . . . And the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the walls and frisk them.”

The problem isn’t just that Bloomberg’s numerical claims are false, but that someone who oversaw law enforcement in New York City may have actually believed that virtually all murderers are young blacks.  The fact that Bloomberg ties this in with Stop and Frisk in the same answer creates very unfortunate  racist overtones to that enforcement method.   The data from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports isn’t even close to this.  The media focused on Bloomberg’s discussion on marijuana, not who commits crime.
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It is amazing that someone who oversaw law enforcement in New York City could really believe that virtually all murderers are young minorities. By tying this in with Stop and Frisk in the same answer, Bloomberg creates racist overtones to that enforcement method. The data from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports aren’t at all in line with Bloomberg’s 95% figure.

According to the FBI data, among murderers whose race we know, 44 percent of murderers are white. Unfortunately, the FBI doesn’t break down the Hispanic murderers by race, but even if we assume all Hispanic murderers are white, at least 23 percent of murderers are non-Hispanic whites. We don’t know the race of all murderers, but even if one assumes that all murderers whose race isn’t identified are minorities, 31 percent of murderers are white.

If you were to xerox the description that Bloomberg gives, you are going to be falsely identifying a lot of minorities as criminals.

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Bloomberg is no more accurate when it comes to the ages of murderers. It is true that young people are responsible for a disproportionate share of these crimes, but the numbers are nowhere close to what Bloomberg claims. Just over 28 percent of murderers are between 13 and 25 years of age. At least 35% of 13 to 25-years-old murderers are white.

UPDATE: Bloomberg apparently feels threatened enough to have his lawyers taken down a video of the talk.  From the Daily Caller:

. . . Perhaps because of that response, Bloomberg, who founded the massive Bloomberg L.P. media empire, has asked both the Aspen Institute and GrassRoots TV, the company that filmed the event, to refrain from broadcasting footage of the talk, according to The Aspen Times.

The Aspen Institute, which regularly hosts movers’ and shakers’ policy talks, accommodated Bloomberg’s request.

“We basically honor the wishes of our speakers and Mayor Bloomberg preferred that we not use the video for broadcast,” Jim Spiegelman, chief external affairs officer for the Aspen Institute told The Aspen Times. “He did not give a reason nor did we have any reason to ask for one. We often feature speakers who prefer that their presentations not be videotaped.”

GrassRoots TV executive director Jim Masters was not necessarily pleased with the request — which he called “frustrating” — but will still comply. . . .

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7 Responses

  1. Tony Comer says:

    John…It seems odd that 4,674 of the 14,132 have “unknown” as age. Does that indicate they were never identified and remain as John or Jane Does? Is it also reasonable to assume that the age distribution for the unknowns, if ever identified, would end up in the same proportions as those whose ages are known?

  2. Bob Frost says:

    Big Gulp Bloomie has been over his head from the start.

  3. soren says:

    Take a look at these “white males” on the Texas most wanted list…


    At the very least, 40%(and probably much more) of the “whites” are Hispanic.

  4. Billca says:

    Dr. Lott – with respect, let’s look at those figures in proportion to the racial population of the US.

    If we do that, the rate of homicides of-and-by whites is low while the rate of homicides of-and-by blacks is several times higher. If I remember correctly, Blacks make up about 12.6% of the population (1/8) while whites make up 72.4% or not quite 3/4. Using this method, the murder offender rate for blacks is about 13.76 per 100k while it’s 1.96 per 100k for whites. This is hardly a new revelation. Look at any large metro city that maps its homicides. There is a tendency for larger numbers of homicides in poor, predominately black/minority areas than in white areas. And if we look under the covers, the violent crime rates follow the pattern (albeit less clearly at times).

  5. Philo-Publius says:

    Really? So that’s the type of person you are…

  6. mnemos says:

    Article could be vastly improved. Bloomberg has a point because by the statistics noted above more than half of the identified murderers were black/African American v.s 15% of the population means they are disproportionately represented – however you term it people will notice that your numbers do support his attitude even if not his numbers. Pointing out that it is a gross exaggeration of real problem is a stronger argument than ignoring the problem. Second issue: it’s the wrong set of statistics. Bloomberg says murderers AND VICTIMS. The statistics only show murderers, ignoring the victims. Unfortunately ignoring the victims is pretty common. It won’t make his numbers right, but is part of why his sentiment is less superficial than this analysis.

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