Wise Tim, Crime, and HBD: Pt. 3: Finally getting down to business

Continuing with our discussion of Leuconoe’s questions, today we’re finally going to dive into Poverty, not race, tied to high crime rates in urban communities, Homicide in Black and White (pdf,) and Nazis Can’t Do Math: Reflections on Racism, Crime and the Illiteracy of Right-Wing Statistical Analysis.

I want to begin with a quick note on the nature and effects of crime. Tim Wise, in particular, is highly dismissive of white concerns about black crime, noting that your actual chances of getting murdered by a black person are pretty low (American homicide rates: high when they want to ban guns, low when someone points out the racial composition of murderers.)

But Wise’s focus on homicide trivializes all of the smaller, far more frequent crimes that people are also trying to avoid, like robbery, arson, carjacking, assault, rape, etc. These crimes are thankfully less severe than murder, but they are still horrible.

I am going to share a personal story. A friend’s house was recently robbed. The police received a call from her home alarm, they called her, and she called me to be with her when she got home.

Why me? I live nearby, and she basically has no one else besides her kids–her husband was arrested some time ago for domestic violence and the rest of her family lives across the country. And here was her house–the back windows shattered, glass everywhere, her things scattered everywhere. She collapsed, sobbing and afraid. Why would someone do this? What could she tell her kids? How could they stay in this house, which now had holes instead of windows?

Note: I do not know the race/s of the robbers. This anecdote is not about race. It is about the pain crime causes. It is about a neighbor who has always been kind to me. Tim Wise only looks at homicide, completely neglecting the many other crimes people commit. But crime is not trivial. Robbery is not trivial. Home invasion is not trivial. Once someone has suffered like this, if they can move, there is a good chance they will. Personally, I hate all crime, but this post is specifically in response to questions about black vs. white crime rates and black-on-white crime.

What are a white person’s chances of being the victim of a violent crime if they live in a black neighborhood? Luckily for us, La Griffe du Lion has already calculated the answer:

From La Griffe du Lion, Crime in the Hood
From La Griffe du Lion, Crime in the Hood

“John” is just a name La Griffe has assigned to his hypothetical white person.

From La Griffe du Lion, Crime in the Hood
From La Griffe du Lion, Crime in the Hood

La Griffe du Lion explains both the math and statistics he used to create these graphs in extensive detail, so if, like Tim Wise, you doubt his ability to do math, (though I must note that La Griffe is probably not a Nazi,) you can go double-check his work. Besides, I strongly recommend the article, if you haven’t read it already.

By contrast, Tim Wise claims:

So if the data say, and they do, that less than seven-tenths of one percent (0.7 percent) of blacks will violently victimize a white person this year and that only about one-quarter of one percent (0.25 percent) of all whites will be violently victimized by a black person this year, that isn’t what matters. …

That these incidents — awful though they are — do not a social trend make, seems to escape some people. … After all, for every one of these violent crimes committed against a white person by a black person, there will be at least 4 such crimes committed against whites by other whites. And yet, racists never seem to think much of this; they don’t assume that white criminals represent white America generally, or that their depredations against their fellow whites say anything about the inherent pathologies of their white brothers and sisters.


I mean, there really isn’t a pattern here. It’s just a bunch of dots. I don’t know why anyone would think there is a connection between blacks and crime.

Let’s return to La Griffe du Lion:

The data reveal two causes of white victimization by blacks. First, a black is 3 times more likely than a white to commit violent crime. However, as a neighborhood turns black, this factor could increase black-on-white violence at most by a factor of 3, and then only when a neighborhood is virtually all black. The observed level of white victimization is much too high to blame on general tendencies of blacks to be violent. A more important reason is simply that blacks prefer white victims. 

   The best and most complete evidence comes from the Justice Department. Its annual National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) canvasses a representative sample of about 80,000 Americans, from roughly 43,000 households. From this survey, a picture of crime is painted by its victims. The last full report of the NCVS was issued in 1994. From it we learn that blacks committed 1,600,951 violent crimes against whites. In the same year, whites committed 165,345 such offenses against blacks. Despite being only 13 percent of the population, blacks committed more than 90 percent of the violent interracial crime. Less than 15 percent of these had robbery as a motive. The rest were assaults and rapes. 

   The asymmetry of interracial crime goes still deeper. More than half the violence committed by blacks is directed against whites, 57 percent in 1994. Less than 3 percent of the violence committed by whites is directed against blacks. Population and NCVS statistics reveal that in 1994 a black was 64 times more likely to attack a white than vice versa. In the city, the races live mostly apart from one another, so that the most convenient victims of thugs are others of the same race. Only a hunter’s mentality could account for the data. Given a choice, a black thug will select a white victim. Ironically, so will a white thug. 

I’m just going to re-post one of yesterday’s graphs:

Picture 5

That said, Wise does make one good point:

And although interracial homicide in either direction is quite rare, the fact is, any given black person in the U.S. is almost three times as likely to be murdered by a white person as any given white person is to be murdered by someone who is black.

There are, as you may have noticed, more white people than black people in this country. If 10% of whites commit crimes against blacks, and 10% of blacks commit crimes against whites, then a lot more black people will be victimized by whites than whites will be victimized by whites. But since there are a lot more whites than blacks, a black person’s chances of being victimized by any particular white, and a white person’s chances of being victimized by any particular black, are exactly the same.

Wise is correct, and this reality is probably quite distressing to black people, who of course don’t like being crime victims any more than anyone else. In the real world, being a minority matters in many ways. But from an HBD perspective, it’s irrelevant–it’s just an effect of the sizes of the populations, not some intrinsic feature of the people involved–and the solution, if you want to solve it, is just to keep whites away from blacks. (Which seems to be the opposite of what Wise desires.)

Additionally, Wise notes simultaneously that whites avoid black neighborhoods (the much-reviled “white flight”) and that whites are not often victimized by black people.

Well DUH. That’s because they’re avoiding black neighborhoods. Whites in high-crime neighborhoods (of any race, obviously) are likely to be victimized.

It’s like when people ask why we’re incarcerating so many people even though crime rates have fallen. They have fallen because the criminals are in prison.

I tried to look up Tim Wise’s address, because the ultimate test of whether he believes what he preaches is whether or not he lives in a poor black neighborhood, but couldn’t find it. I found some posts where people claimed to have his address, but when I popped those addresses into the county tax assessor’s website, found that the property belonged to a totally different person who is probably really annoyed at all of the hate mail they receive. (I don’t blame Tim Wise for not wanting his address to be easily findable on the internet. He, too, would like to avoid violent crime.)

Okay, enough of Tim Wise. You can agree with his numbers, or you can agree with La Griffe’s. Either way, I don’t think anyone wants to live in a high-crime neighborhood.

To be continued…


13 thoughts on “Wise Tim, Crime, and HBD: Pt. 3: Finally getting down to business

  1. Ok lets have some fun shall we?

    “only about one-quarter of one percent (0.25 percent) of all whites will be violently victimized by a black person this year”

    This would mean that its 2,5% every 10 years. A typical american white lives 80 years this would mean their lifelong chance of getting attacked by a black is 20%(!!!) exactly the same number they argue the chance of a women is to be raped in life. The same Tim Wise made a big deal of how high that is. Ofcourse he takes anual number for other crime and lifelong numbers for rape.

    One could now argue that rape does more harm then mugging or robbery but the vast majority of the rapes recorded are alcohol and drug rapes, thus in most of this cases the women is passed out or extremly dizzy, she dosnt even understand what is done to her or she is passed out and dosnt feel anything. On the next morning she wakes up and has a hangover but no or only blurry memories of the act itself. The psychological damege of this is vastly llower then that of actualy violent rape and propably lower then of mugging or robbery. Also most women get raped if they go on dates with dangerous men and dont take precautions. Most whites get victimized by blacks if they dont take the precaution of living faaaar away from them, thus in bouth cases its preventeble or at least the risk can be strongly limited.


  2. Ok so whites are suposedly 3 times more likly to be victimized by other whites. First what about Mestizo hispanics? Are they counted as “white” in this number? Second Whites are 72,4% of the US population, Blacks are only 13%. Third Whites do everything they can to get away from blacks. Despite this they still get disproportionatly victimized by blacks (about two times more likly if we acount for their proportions in society). Now thats quiet something isnt it?

    Also what about property crimes? 10% of black men are going to be locked up for violent crimes….a minority yes, but it will be bigger if we count property crimes, after all who wants his credit card stolen? Or his TV. Yes even if 25 or even 30% of black men comit crimes of one or another type its still a minority right? Well this dosnt stop Wise and his feminist friends to acuse Men as a group for 4-6% of men who rape (when we only count whites it will propably be 3-4%) pointing out how horribly large this number is! Or be upset over the very few blacks the police shoots.

    Also lets say only 10% of black men are criminals, this is such a small minority right we dont want it to define anything right? Well Wise has no problem defining America as a whole over how it has historicly treated a small minority (10-13% of its population) the blacks proclaiming that htere was nothing good in the USA before the 1960s and calling hte civil rights act the greatest law in US history!

    Now to: “And although interracial homicide in either direction is quite rare, the fact is, any given black person in the U.S. is almost three times as likely to be murdered by a white person as any given white person is to be murdered by someone who is black.”

    John derbishire allready dealt with this one “All right: but for a real civilian (non-dysfunctional non-cop) danger figure you’d want to exclude a lot of those homicides. I’ll filter out the following: Justified homicides (felon killed by police or civilian), juvenile gang killings, gangland killings, drug-related violence.

    That gets the black-on-white number down to 639, the white-on-black to 241. Wise’s 2.8 has now dwindled to 1.8. Remember, the equal-offending-rate, zero-bias assumption gives black risk 4.7 times white risk.”

    So basicly much of it is white homeowner shooting black robber.


  3. Oh and as someone whos grandfathers brother had his legs torn off by a german artillery shell in WW2 I can asure Mr.Wise that Nazis indeed know how to do math…..Calculating artillery direction was a horribly dificult busines back then and required that artillery officers were very good at mathematics.


  4. I don’t think La Griffe’s article is really up to their usual standard. My main beef is this:

    “Consistent with NCVS data, we assume that if presented with a convenient choice, both black and white thugs will select white victims over black. Then, the number of incidents involving white victims and black perpetrators is pBfBN.”

    La Griffe is assuming that in his model of the Hood, ALL victims will be white. That is a rather extraordinary assumption which greatly exaggerates John’s risk, especially as the white proportion of the neighborhood dwindles. I’m not sure how NCVS data could even hypothetically support that assumption without fine-grained geographic data. The (“More than half the violence committed by blacks is directed against whites, 57 percent in 1994”) stat would’ve been more justifiable, but even that may be a stretch, because in the real world source of our statistics, blacks have easy access to a large white population, while in La Griffe’s model he’s assuming a contained Hood with a dwindling white proportion.

    It’s too bad, because the evidence does suggest that the demographics of your neighborhood dramatically change your risk of victimization, but I think La Griffe oversold here.

    Much better would be to incorporate geographic data; eg instead of Firearm Homicides vs Racial Composition, just plot White Victimization Rate [incidents per 100k white people] vs Racial Composition. I bet the result will still be quite dramatic and closer to reality.


  5. On “Griffe Du Lion’s” findings on race, crime, and IQ prof. William D. Clinger note that his drivel is “so full of egregiously bad methodology and other mistakes that I at first assumed it was a satire of racist pseudoscience, the sort of thing that might be written for the Annals of Improbable Research or (if you’re Alan Sokal) Social Text.
    To mention just one example, the article’s thesis is that a nation’s “smart fraction” of the population predicts per capita GDP better than average IQ, but then uses (highly questionable) “data” on average IQ to pretend to estimate the smart fraction by assuming a Gaussian distribution. As any competent scientist would notice, however, the assumption of Gaussian distributions can’t be used to estimate the “smart fraction” without the further assumption of a specific variance or standard distribution, for which there are no data available. In short, the article claims that data on average IQ are inadequate to predict per capita GDP, but then pretends to obtain a better prediction of per capita GDP from precisely that inadequate data by making a sequence of unsupported assumptions. We’re used to seeing that kind of argument in rmcg, but scientists recognize it as a form of scientific fraud known as drylabbing.”


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