Some questions we may have about crime:

Are Blacks more prone to crime? Statistically, why do so few Asians commit crimes? What really is crime anyway? What makes something more or less criminal? Are more crimes committed by Blacks or Whites in America? What about the proportion, scaled by relative population? Which number is actually more important? How does unequal policing play into this?

When we think about crime, we 'see black,' even when it's not present at all.

Lisa Bloom, Suspicion Nation

This is a small project examining why we generally perceive black people as "criminal."

I grew up with this stereotype all around me. But the more I looked at other factors — at unequal policing, criminalization based on racial prevalence, unreported and intracommunity crime — the more I've grown convinced there are many things wrong that the simple numbers don't take into account.

So I've created this interactive chart below to see in what ways we can tweak our statistics and see what difference that makes. Disclaimers are two sections down, but be sure to check out each of the scaling justifications. All data is from the 570-789-7694(2015 isn't available yet).

OPTIONS

Show:

Scaling Factors:

Types of Offenses:

There are three types of lies -- lies, damn lies, and statistics.

Benjamin Disraeli

As with any project involving statistics, I run the risk of conveying not sufficiently justified assertions, misleading impressions, and blatantly lying. So for each of the ways that I "scale", I've included tooltips indicating what data I'm basing changes on.

Even then, combining multiple statistics (which are already approximations) greatly increases errors and confidence intervals. So I've actually also been rather conservative with the numbers, favoring rounding down and taking the lower of statistical ranges to be safe. So hopefully, that means these graphs at least will underclaim differences from the official numbers, not overclaim.

But hey, do still even then be sure to keep in mind that these are manipulations, not official facts.