Why Crime Rates Have Little to do with Poverty

Lewis Loflin

Liberals always cite the excuse that poverty, lack of education, etc. is the cause of crime and a myriad of other social problems. This is elitist' and insulting for a number of reasons. The vast majority of poor people while lacking in some material possessions do lead often productive lives and don't resort to crime.

Liberals are clueless because of political of correctness and that's why all of their expensive social engineering programs always fail. Corruption and self-interest aside, they need to end their mindless fixation of society always being at fault and put most of the blame back on individuals. It's time to start myth-busting on this issue. Poverty and education has little to do with crime rates.

In the article Steady Decline in Major Crime Baffles Experts (May 23, 2011) the New York Times notes the following:

The number of violent crimes in the United States dropped significantly last year, to what appeared to be the lowest rate in nearly 40 years, a development that was considered puzzling partly because it ran counter to the prevailing expectation that crime would increase during a recession...

In all regions, the country appears to be safer...Small towns, especially, are seeing far fewer murders...the number plunged by more than 25 percent last year...There was no immediate consensus to explain the drop...

Nationally, murder fell 4.4 percent last year. Forcible rape - which excludes statutory rape and other sex offenses - fell 4.2 percent. Aggravated assault fell 3.6 percent. Property crimes - including burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson - fell 2.8 percent, after a 4.6 percent drop the year before...

Nationally, the drop in violent crime not only calls into question the theory that crime rates are closely correlated with economic hardship, but another argument as well...As the percentage of people behind bars has decreased in the past few years, violent crime rates have fallen as well...

There are 2.3 million people in prison in the US, about 1 million are black, another 20% in federal prisons are Hispanic. While people claim the drop in prison populations hasn't led to an increase in crime, just as the latest economic downturn hasn't, we need to look at what everyone refuses to consider.

As a low-income white living in an ocean of low-income whites in rural Virginia where the poverty rate is more than double prosperous metropolitan areas, we should have massive levels of crime if it was about poverty. Instead we have the lowest rates of crime in the state. Even the New York Times noted that small town America where a lot of poverty is common, crime have plummeted.

I'd like to see better figures, but I'll bet the prison population is becoming less white and more non-white. It's not the number of people in prison that is bringing down crime, but the composition of that prison population. These people are not there for simple drug convictions or because of racism. Quoting Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute:

"In the overwhelming majority of cases, prison remains a lifetime achievement award for persistence in criminal offending. Absent recidivism or a violent crime, the criminal-justice system will do everything it can to keep you out of the state or federal slammer...

In 2005 the black homicide rate was over seven times higher than that of whites and Hispanics combined...From 1976 to 2005, blacks committed over 52 percent of all murders."

The question becomes, "Do police excessively arrest blacks?" The answer is clearly no according to MacDonald. Sociologist James Q. Wilson notes that "the typical criminal commits from 12 to 16 crimes a year (not counting drug offenses)"1

According to the US Government:

48% (6556 dead) of murder victims are black in 2009.2

Who commits murder (total dead 15,760 in 2009)? 33.5% white; 37.4% black; 27.5% unknown.3

A United States Department of Justice report which surveyed homicide statistics between 1974 and 2004 stated that of the crimes surveyed, 52.2% of the offenders were Black, 45.8% were White (includes Hispanics), and 2% were Other Races. Of the victims in those same crimes, 50.9% were White, 46.9% were Black, and 2.1% were Other Races. The report further stated that "most murders are intraracial" with 86% of White murders committed by Whites, and 94% of Black murders committed by Blacks.

Blacks are disproportionately represented as both homicide victims and offenders. The victimization rates for blacks were 6 times higher than those for whites. The offending rates for blacks were more than 7 times higher the rates for whites.4

Most interracial crime is black on white.

VA State Police Arrest by race:


As the table shows above the percent of blacks arrested in Virginia is slowly dropping, but this is due to their drop in the overall population and the huge growth of Hispanics (many illegal) that are counted as white.

In Virginia (2008):

Murder There were 369 murders, 160 were white/Hispanic, 198 were black. Of the 479 arrested, 141 were white, 306 were black or 64%.

Forcible Sex Offenses
5240 victims which 3649 were white, 1442 were black.
Of 4810 arrested, 2980 were white, 1830 were black or 38%.
Women/girls were the overwhelming victims.

Forcible Rape
1760 victims (15 male), 1202 white, 514 black.
Of 1856 arrested (21 female and 74 unknown) 950 are white, 774 black or 42%

8831 victims, 4726 white, 3662 black.
Of the 10,475 arrests 1690 are white, 8575 were black or 82%
Even more scary was 3177 blacks under the age of 18.

Aggravated Assaults
10,401 victims of which 5331 white, 4866 black.
Of the 10,317 arrests, 4744 are white, 5334 or 52% black.

29,178 victims, 18,968 white, 8859 black.
Of the 16,470 arrested, 8481 white, 7394 or 45% black.

Blacks are arrested for 36 percent of vandalism, 47 percent of drug/narcotics violations, 29 percent of forcible fondling, 49 percent of motor vehicle thefts, 70 percent of purse snatching, 36 percent of counterfeiting/forgery, 45.5 percent of shoplifting, 66 percent of extortion/blackmail, 44.4 percent of simple assaults, 50.1 percent of aggravated assaults, 52 percent of kidnapping, 49 percent of welfare fraud, 39 percent of statutory rape, 52.4 percent of bribery, 56 percent of offenses against the family and 44 percent of total larceny.5

A Look at Poverty in Virginia

Simply stated 75% of the poor in Virginia are not black and don't display the excessive levels of crime and violence blacks do. Poverty is more widespread than they like to admit and has grown a lot since 2000.

Virginia stats 2010 US Census:
White not Hispanic: 64.8%
black: 19.4%
Hispanic: 7.9%
Asian: 5.5%
mixed 2.9%

Per capita income Virginia: (2009 dollars) 2005-2009 - $31,6066

Per capita income Virginia 2000 in 2000 dollars: $31,087
But adjusted for inflation in 2009 should be: $38,7307
This is a 19% loss due to inflation national inflation alone. By 2011 it should be over 20%.

Again Virginia stats 2010 US Census:
Foreign born persons, percent, 2005-2009 10.1%
Language other than English spoken at home, age 5+, 2005-2009 13.2%
Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010 13.0%

In other words most of the population growth seems to be due to immigration. This is also the cause of a lot of local inflation (in addition to driving down wages and displacing workers, in particular blacks) as pressure is put on everyone for more infrastructure such as schools, jails, power plants, massive housing inflation, etc. in addition to huge drops in income due to general inflation. The housing prices in many areas have dropped due to the housing bubble imploding, but income has clearly dropped as well.

So in general, except for the top 20% of earners in Virginia, I'd say the bottom 80% are poorer today than in 2000 and much of that drop is among whites without advanced degrees. Even with the explosion of Hispanic gangs and crime across the state, immigrants in particular Asians add little to the crime problem even if they are poor.

So even with all of this going on in Virginia, the arrest rates of whites/Hispanics versus black is almost unchanged even with the last economic meltdown that still persists. Poverty just doesn't explain this crime problem away. Only one in four poor people in Virginia are black:8

Virginia: Poverty Rate by Race/Ethnicity (2008-2009), U.S. (2009)

White		594,200	    11%
Black		381,900	    26%
Hispanic		73,300      16%
Other		80,400	    15%
Total		1,129,800	15%

Another interesting statistic for Virginia is the number of adults in poverty without children far exceeds those with children:

Adults with Children	181,300	10%	
Adults with No Children	410,200	14%
Total	                591,500	12%	

When this is broken down by age we find poverty levels for working age adults exceeds that of the elderly and children combined:

Children 18 and under	402,400	    20%	
Adults 19-64	        591,500	    12%	
Elderly 65+	            135,900     15%	
Total	                1,129,800	15%

Rural areas which are mostly white have more than double the poverty rates of urban areas, but among the lowest crime rates:

Metropolitan	    841,600	13%	
Non-Metropolitan    288,200   27%

The Sentencing Project data below shows that even poorest all white states such as West Virginia have white incarceration lower or nearly equal to far more affluent states such as Virginia, Oregon, and Washington State. So education and poverty doesn't lead to the shattering levels of crime among whites.

Incarceration rates by race per 100,000 people:

State        white         black        Hispanic
VA.          396           2331         487
W. VA        392           2188         211
TN           487           2006         561
Kentucky     561           2793         757
Oregon       502           2930         573
Washington   393           2522         527
Iowa         309           4200         764
NATIONAL     412           2290         742

20% of the population (virtually all white) live below the poverty level in West Virginia.


Most of the social ills in American society like it or not is non-Asian minorities. They drag down school statistics because liberals can't figure out (or refuse) to educate them. There's no proof of poverty causing these problems at least among Asians and whites. The crime rate has went down simply because so many minorities in particular blacks are still in prison. Every black thug in prison can stop perhaps 30 violent crimes a year. So 1 million blacks in prison over 20 years can prevent 60,000,000 violent crimes, where many of the victims are black.

If one want to claim prisons are expensive, add up the costs of million of injuries emotional and physical to the trillions in property damage. Prison is a bargain.


1. Defending black incarceration rates By George F. Will June 22, 2008.







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All of the excuses about poverty, white racism, etc. causing these savages to act like this isn't worth my time. banner.

Female victims of black violence.


Lewis Loflin


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