Is American culture sharply increasing crime?

The US is currently experiencing the second largest increase in crime since statistics began to be tabulated, the largest increase in crime being in the 1960s and 1970s. From “Crime in California 2016” Table 5, page 9 in document, page 13 in PDF, the total number of forcible rapes in California increased by 49.3% between 2014 (8,562) to 2016 (12,785). From Table 1, page 5 in the document, page 9 in the PDF:

  • Homicides increased 13.7% between 2014 (1,697) and 2016 (1,930)
  • Robberies increased 12.6% between 2014 (48,650) and 2016 (54,769)
  • Aggravated Assault increased 13.8% between 2014 (91,681) and 2016 (104,307)

To better understand the massive US crime wave, I decided to calculate crimes committed  by various ethnic groups.

This article will use California crime data since US national level data on crime for Latino Americans and Asian Americans is usually not publicly released by the US government; perhaps for fear of what such data would show. I suspect that US and Canadian nationwide data would show similar trends. California demographic data by ethnicity is taken from 2015 US Census Bureau estimates. From “Crime in California 2016” Table 30, page 33 in document, page 37 in PDF, “Felony and Misdemeanor Arrests” 2016:

  • Caucasions were 4.99 times more likely to be arrested than Asians
  • Hispanics were 5.91 times more likely to be arrested than Asians
  • Blacks were 17.04 times more likely to be arrested than Asians
  • Non Asian Others (mostly native Americans) were 3.38 times more likely to be arrested than Asians

Arrest data by Asian country are also available; but Asians commit so few crimes that such data would be skewed by the law of small numbers. However you are free to research it yourself. The spreadsheet used for these calculations is available upon request.

Total crimes committed by caucasions, hispanics, blacks and “other” are released by category. “Other” is not broken down into Asian and non Asian other. However if we assume that non Asian others commit 3.38 times as much crime as Asians (a stretch to be sure), then:

Total homides by race from “Crime in California 2016” Table 31, page 34 in document, page 38 in PDF:

  • Caucasions were 2.44 times more likely to commit homicide than Asians
  • Hispanics were 4.44 times more likely to commit homicide than Asians
  • Blacks were 17.23 times more likely to commit homicide than Asians

Total robbery by race:

  • Caucasions were 4.63 times more likely to commit robbery than Asians
  • Hispanics were 7.96 times more likely to commit robbery than Asians
  • Blacks were 44.19 times more likely to commit robbery than Asians

Total rape by race:

  • Caucasions were 3.13 times more likely to commit rape than Asians
  • Hispanics were 5.44 times more likely to commit rape than Asians
  • Blacks were 12.24 times more likely to commit rape than Asians

Total assault by race:

  • Caucasions were 4.44 times more likely to commit assault than Asians
  • Hispanics were 5.48 times more likely to commit assault than Asians
  • Blacks were 15.44 times more likely to commit assault than Asians

Total kidnapping by race:

  • Caucasions were 3.92 times more likely to commit kidnapping than Asians
  • Hispanics were 6.52 times more likely to commit kidnapping than Asians
  • Blacks were 18.42 times more likely to commit kidnapping than Asians

If we assume that non Asian others are 3.38 times more likely to be incarcerated than Asians, then from

  • Caucasions were 4.18 times more likely to be incarcerated than Asians
  • Hispanics were 5.8 times more likely to be incarcerated than Asians
  • Blacks were 25.2 times more likely to be incarcerated than Asians

Note that in 2016, the proportion of California prisoners convicted of a violent, serious, or sexual offense was 91%. Only a small percentage of California (or US wide) prisoners are incarcerated for nonviolent drug crimes.

There were 9,933 violent assaults against California police officers in 2016  from “Crime in California 2016” Table 48, page 61 in document, page 65 in PDF. But no breakdown of attackers by ethnicity is available. Police in the US are assaulted by attackers at an astronomically high rate.

4.6% of all California inmates were female at the end of 2017. Females appear to commit far less crime than males for genetic and cultural reasons, and it is unrealistic to reduce male committed crime to female committed crime levels. However is it realistic to reduce crime committed by caucasions and caucasion incarceration to Asian American levels? If so, crime rates would decline sharply. This would be large positive technological shock to the economy, sharply increasing labor productivity and wages. Location based structural unemployment in formerly high crime areas would decline sharply. US taxpayers would save over 50 billion dollars in prison expenses and the quality of life for Americans would improve sharply. Can this be done?

Can American culture be changed to reduce crime? If American culture is not changed, might the next generation of Asian Americans commit crime and go to prison at caucasion rates?

What else can America do to reduce crime other than change culture?

Why does everyone think US crime has increased sharply in recent years? Culture? Anything else?

Some might argue that the dramatic improvement in the US economy is driving the crime wave. (US unemployment tied the lowest level since 1969 in May.) When people are loaded with money perhaps life becomes boring, causing people to commit violent crime. But crime decreased during the 1982-1990, 1991-2001, 2001-2007 booms. Crime also decreased during the economic slowdowns of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. It is hard to make a case that the dramatic improvement in the US economy has driven the large increase in US crime.

What else could be driving the large increase in US crime?

This issue is particularly relevant to Asian Americans since the vast majority of crime committed against Asian Americans are committed by non Asian Americans. By contrast the vast majority of crime against caucasions are committed by other caucasions.

Could the radical change in American culture described by Jonathan Haidt be driving increased American crime?:



2015 US Census Bureau estimates are used for California’s 2015 population breakdown by race and ethnicity

Spreadsheet with crime data can be e-mailed upon request

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23 thoughts on “Is American culture sharply increasing crime?”

  1. Mr AnAn, you either cannot read documents or you just lie without compunction.

    There is no ‘huge’ crime wave going on in USA. Just from your report in plain sight at the front summary ,

    “The violent crime rate per 100,000
    population increased 4.1 percent from
    2015 to 2016, but the property crime rate
    decreased 2.9 percent. (Tables 1 & 2)
    y The homicide rate increased in 2016
    (from 4.8 to 4.9 per 100,000). Rates, not
    actual homicide counts, are used to
    accommodate for population fluctuations
    from year to year. (Table 2)
    y From 2011 to 2016, the robbery and
    burglary rates decreased 3.8 and 22.0
    percent, respectively. (Table 2)
    The 2016 total arrest rate of 3,655.1 per
    100,000 population at risk is 4.0 percent
    lower than the 2015 total arrest rate of
    3,808.6. (Table 17)
    y In 2016, the adult total arrest rate
    decreased 3.1 percent and the juvenile
    total arrest rate decreased 15.2 percent
    (per 100,000 population at risk). (Table 17)
    y From 2015 to 2016, the total felony arrest
    rate decreased 2.6 percent and the total
    misdemeanor arrest rate decreased 4.4
    percent (per 100,000 population at risk).
    (Table 17)

    You say the total number of rapes in California increased by 88.2% between 2011 (6,792) to 2016 (12,785). But you very conveniently forgot to mention that this is because in 2014 the definition of Rape was changed. It expanded to include male and female victims and also expanded to include various forms of sexual penetration. Because of definition change, the paper do not calculate percentage change. All these are clearly written at the bottom of the table.

    I do not know what is your purpose in comparing crimes by different ethnic groups. It is well known that Black and Hispanics commit higher rate of crime than Asians. One clear reason is that mostly highly educated and professional Asians have migrated to USA in the recent decades while generally mostly poor and less educated Hispanics migrated to America. As long as you are tabulating crimes by races, I hope you will provide us with your analysis on the great reputation Indian Males have throughout the world about sexual crimes and misogyny.

  2. There is no question that by every socio economic measure the Asian population outperforms all other ethnic demographics by a considerable margin. Liberals, racebaiters and SJW’s ignore this fact consistently as it argues against their narrative about the evils of white people and white culture and the prevalence of so called white privilege. For us reality based humans the interesting question is why?
    There is no doubt that Asians benefit from being raised in two parent households with strong connections to grandparents, aunts, uncles etc…. But that is a dynamic found in Latino culture too – I live in a majority Hispanic county and know of no Hispanics who are not tightly connected to their adult children, parents, siblings and other relatives. Yet the Rio Grande Valley is one of the poorest regions in the country with high rates of childhood pregnancy, single motherhood, alcohol and drug abuse and epidemic levels of morbid obesity, diabetes and hypertension. If maintaining tight connections to within an extended family doesn’t equate to economic success why are the Asians consistently successful economically? I suspect it has to do with average IQ levels and that is a dangerous thing to discuss given the hysteria which characterizes discussions of race these days.

  3. Thanks Shafiq R. The 88.2% increase in rape between 2011 and 2016 is in the narrow definition of rape only. Notice that this article focuses on the most violent types of crime only and ignores property crime for a variety of reasons. Some claim that poverty and economic cycles affect property crime and I wanted to side step that discussion. Another reason to focus on violent crime only is because they are more heavily investigated by the police and more likely to be accurate. The least chance of bias in arrests is probably in homicide and rape because of police investigation requirements. The perpetrators of a lot of property crime are not known.

    Violent crime seems to be affected by factors other than economics. Can you share what you believe those factors are?

    California prisons were filled massively over capacity in addition to California housing many prisoners outside California. As a result California sharply reduced prison population as the crime rate rocketed higher. California is arresting fewer people as crime rockets higher.

    Regarding Desi male misogyny, please see:

    When in the annual data do you see a violent crime upsurge larger than the current one other than during the 1960s and 1970s?

    Why do you think caucasions engage in crime at far higher rates than Asian Americans? Do you think culture plays a role?

    1. Again you are lying without slightest selfawareness. What do you mean by “The 88.2% increase in rape between 2011 and 2016 is in the narrow definition of rape only.”? As the paper clearly states there was a definition change of rape and it was expanded, so percentage change is absolutely meaningless.

      There is no huge crime wave in America. You are incapable of reading or interpreting statistics.

      1. Shafiq,
        Thank god you said it. Some people think they are a lot smarter than they actually are. And the evidence bears out that basic comprehension is beyond them.

  4. Shafiq R., why do you think males engage in violence more than females?

    Does the large amount of violent crime directed at Asian Americans by non Asian Americans concern you?

  5. Maybe a comparison Asian Crime in London might make for some wider examples and investigation.

    Violent Crime vs White Collar, each to his/her ability

    1. Plan to do similar articles on crime in Canada, UK and Australia.

      People of Asian ancestry and Desis in particular appear to specialize in White Collar crime. 🙁 Why?

  6. Shafiq R, thanks for constructive feedback. Are you satisfied with the edit?

    From page 64 in document, page 68 in PDF, Appendix 1:
    “In 2013, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s UCR Program revised the
    definition of “forcible rape” (the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will) to “rape,” which is now defined as “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.
    The California DOJ implemented this definition change in January 2014.”

    Table 5, page 9 in document, page 13 in PDF, the total number of rapes in California increased by 49.3% between 2014 (8,562) to 2016 (12,785)
    From Table 1, page 5 in the document, page 9 in the PDF:
    Homicides increased 13.7% between 2014 (1,697) and 2016 (1,930)
    Robberies increased 12.6% between 2014 (48,650) and 2016 (54,769)
    Aggravated Assault increased 13.8% between 2014 (91,681) and 2016 (104,307)
    As it turns out the increase in California violent crime is less than the US national increase in violent crime. This said it is best to quote California statistics to be consistent.

    “It is well known that Black and Hispanics commit higher rate of crime than Asians.” My reading of the data is that crime committed by Hispanics isn’t much higher than non Hispanic caucasion committed crime and that over time hispanic committed crime will likely converge to caucasion levels. I also believe that a very small percentage of Hispanics associated with organized crime commit a huge percentage of Hispanic perpetrated crime, although I can’t prove this with data. Adjusting for this Hispanic caused crime is even closer to caucasion levels. Do you agree or disagree?

    “I do not know what is your purpose in comparing crimes by different ethnic groups”:
    –to examine if caucasions can learn from Asian culture to reduce the astronomical amounts of crime committed by caucasions (what do you think?)
    –to illustrate the degree to which Asian Americans are a community that commits very little crime, but suffers from extraordinary amounts of crime committed against Asian Americans by non Asian Americans.

    “I hope you will provide us with your analysis on the great reputation Indian Males have throughout the world about sexual crimes and misogyny.” Is this because you have Indian heritage or connection and are deeply saddened and embarrassed by this? This issue troubles me greatly too. What do you think can be done to reduce the “sexual crimes and misogyny committed by Indian males?”

    Please keep offering constructive feedback. It is always deeply appreciated. 🙂

    Kabir, I didn’t follow your comment. Can you please elaborate?

    1. My comment is perfectly self-explanatory. Shafiq said you are either incapable of reading statistics or you are deliberately lying. I was agreeing with him.

      1. Kabir, how would you change the methodology (method of calculation) or presentation of the presented statistics? In what specific ways would you improve upon any of the points and arguments used in the above article. I don’t follow your comment.

        I would also appreciate additional constructive feedback from Shafiq and everyone else.

        1. I don’t know anything about statistics nor do I particularly care. English Lit person here.

          But I agree with Shafiq that you are not particularly smart. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

          1. I agree completely that I am not particularly smart!

            Is there anything about the article that you do not fully agree with or could suggest improving?

          2. IiLet me get this straight; you are a literature guy, and admittedly have no expertise in reading statistics, but agree wholeheartedly with Shafiq that AnAn botched the stats?

            Your entire point was to denigrate AnAn. I find this reprehensible. If I were Shafiq, I would feel discredited by your support. Is your purpose to discredit Shafiq by making it appear that anyone disagreeing with AnAn is doing so out of personal animus?

            When you have nothing of value to add, it really is ok to not comment. In fact, it would be preferred. Personal assaults don’t advance the conversation, but they do devalue your reputation. I know I’ll never read anything from you the same way. Those comments made you appear to be very small.

          3. Old Blue,
            Anan has a lot of bizarro views, especially about Islam and “postmodernism”.
            You need to keep the whole history in mind. In any case, I really don’t care what you think about me.

          4. Kabir, I’ve known AnAn for quite a few years. We’ve discussed many topics, from Afghanistan/Pakistan/India to religion/spirituality to domestic policy. He and I disagree on some subjects, and his worldview is different from mine, informed by different exposures, experiences and study. I do not always agree with AnAn, but I have profited from the discussion. AnAn is driven less by emotion and more by facts, especially numbers. He is curious, asking often penetrating questions. His observations on Islam are unemotional and certainly not islamophobic. In short, I have never found his views to be, “bizarro,” and so I find nothing exculpatory in your justification for uncivil behavior.

            Further, find your assertion that you do not care what I think to lack veracity. That is a throwaway line, intended to deny the very reason for your reply. It appears that you not only care what I think of you, but it appears to matter very much what I think of AnAn.

            If you find fault with AnAn’s analysis, then by all means put forth your own argument. But admitting that you are incapable of arguing with his analysis and instead proceed with… and insist upon justifying… ad hominem attacks is demeaning to your own intellect. It is churlish behavior. Argue with his methodology or conclusions, but if you lack that capacity, it’s best left to others.

            These are simply observations and do not require a response, but perhaps could bear some introspection. Good day to you, sir.

  7. sbarrkum, is it safe to do a similar study of Europe?

    In the English we all know the disproportionate number of molestations and rapes of under age girls committed by Pakistani ancestry male muslims–who represent 1% to 2% of all UK males (the Pakistani community tried hard to end this for years but were viciously attacked for being racist by caucasions for bringing this issue up). I already discussed this in:

    In Europe a majority of all rapes and molestation of females are committed by muslim migrants. These are sensitive topics.

    In both the England and Europe there is great sensitivity regarding crime committed by people who happen to have black ancestry. Trevor Phillips [who was responsible for diversity in the left wing Labor UK government 1997-2010] very courageously discussed this issue:

    I lack Trevor Phillips’ courage.

    Canadians are extremely sensitive about the number of crimes committed by black Canadians and indigenous Canadians. In addition the Canada is losing her war against crime:
    Until recently Toronto solved almost 100% of all murders. Now Toronto solves less than 10% of gun murders. Because of this Canadian data on the perpetrators of crime might have become unreliable. Canada severely restricts the public reporting of perpetrators of crime by race. But we do know that a huge percentage of victims of violent crime happen to be black or indigenous Canadian:

    In any case I want to discuss how caucasion culture can be changed to lower crime. And what caucasions can learn from Asian culture to reduce crime.

  8. While there appears to be a correlation, in general, to the type of immigrant (many Asians enter the U.S. for educational reasons and wind up staying) and their chances of upward mobility, the contradiction would be Vietnamese immigrants following the fall of South Vietnam. Education level has a high correlation to financial outcomes. Vietnamese immigrants often lacked education and became successful anyway… or their children did.

    Is Asian IQ higher on average, or just among those who found the opportunity to emigrate?

    Social values may play a difference, but the emphasis on educational performance may be of greater effect than close family ties.

    As for why Asians appear to be targeted, two things make for a good victim; assets (something to steal) and perceived lack of ability/willingness to defend or resist. The asset issue is clear; Asians tend to have assets. The other aspect could bear some discussion. Why do Asians make attractive targets?

    Last of all, perhaps Asians do not make particularly good targets for crime, but are merely victimized in proportion to their availability?

    1. Do you think that Asian culture plays a role in lower rates of committing crime? What are these cultural characteristics that are driving lower crime? Can these cultural characteristics influence broader American culture?

      1. It’s not like Asians don’t commit crimes. Who is committing all the crimes in India and Pakistan? South Asians of course.

      2. Higher socioeconomic status correlates to lower violent and property crime rates. Educated people tend less towards street crime and more towards white collar crime. Since many South Asians either arrive educated or to pursue higher education, I would submit attributuon of the rates to be more closely related to socioeconomic status than cultural differences.

  9. Kabir, most of India in the 1980s was extremely poor and had extraordinarily low rates of murder, rape, assault, violent robbery, even property crime. Albeit property crime existed far more than violent crime. For decades researchers and analysts have pondered over why this is. Do you think culture played a role?

    Today of course most of India is no longer extremely poor but India was very poor in the 1980s.

    Very poor countries with big government can have astronomically high rates of violent crime (Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Argentina). Maybe the grey and black economy plays a role in these cases. Let us set these examples aside. Many poor countries without large intrusive governments also have very high rates of violent crime. Of course statisticians might say that high violent crime causes low GDP; and that endogenous effect needs to be taken into account. But even accounting for this, is it possible that culture affects violent crime?

    Razib, do you think culture influences violent crime? Above Tim suggested the possibility of researching correlations between DNA and violent crime. Do you have thoughts on this? No need to respond if you believe answering this question might be too dangerous.

  10. America has seen a sharp increase in the number of suicides to 45,000 a year.

    The sharp increase in American suicides also seems mostly unrelated to the macro economy. Could this large increase in American suicides be partly driven by culture? Be curious to see a break down in suicide by American ethnic group and by global ethnic group.

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