Robert Doyle

SOCY 327

Week 13-Blog 11

Myths

Three Myths about Crime

Myth 1

One of the biggest myths is that violent crime is increasing in America.  This is not true. According to the FBI violent crime has decreased by about 49% in the last quarter century. This is according to “Five Facts About Crime in the U. S.”

According to the  “New York Crime Rate and Statistics”  “Based on this report, the crime rate in New York for 2019 is expected to be lower than in 2016 when the state violent crime rate was lower than the national violent crime rate average by 5.25% and the state property crime rate was lower than the national property crime rate average by 36.93%.”

Myth 2

Most crimes are not reported to police, and most reported crimes are not solved. This is not true. Most crimes are reported to the police. “In 2017, police nationwide cleared 46% of violent crimes that were reported to them.”  This is according to “Five Facts About Crime in the U. S.”

Myth 3

Most crimes are solved by fingerprints and DNA.  This is not true.  Less than one percent of all crimes are solved this way.  It would be difficult to solve a crime if the fingerprints are not on file.  This is probably a myth that is perpetuated by movies and media.  According to “Why the U. S. Needs Better Crime Reporting Statistics”, we need better metrics to report and solve crimes.

Five Myths about Immigration

Myth 1

“Immigrants are overrunning our country, and most are here illegally.”

According to “Myths and Facts about Immigrants and Immigrations,” “In 2016, there were 10.7 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., or less than 3.5 percent of the nation’s population. This represents a significant decrease (13%) from the 12.2 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. in 2007 and is the lowest total since 2004.”

Myth 2

“Immigrants bring crime and violence to our cities and towns.”

“According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, while the overall percentage of immigrants and the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. both increased sharply between 1990 and 2010, the violent crime rate in the U.S. during that time plummeted 45 percent and the property crime rate dropped by 42 percent.”

Myth 3

“Immigrants hurt our country financially by taking jobs and services without paying taxes.”

“Immigrants collectively pay between $90 and $140 billion each year in taxes, and a recent study found that undocumented immigrants alone pay approximately $11.64 billion in taxes each year.”

Myth 4

“Immigrants are coming to the U.S. to obtain welfare and other benefits.”

“According to a 2018 study by the CATO Institute, eligible immigrants use 27% fewer benefits relative to U.S. natives of similar incomes and ages.”

Myth 5

“Immigrants are bringing diseases into the U.S.”

“According to the World Health Organization, 113 countries, including many countries in Latin America, have higher vaccination rates for 1-year-olds than the U.S.”

All these myths were found to be untrue in the article, “Myths and Facts about Immigrants and Immigration”.

Data Analysis

In the City Rating Statistics, you can set the data points for crime and violence.  You can determine which city and then set up for violent crimes; such as, rate or murder.  Unfortunately, it is easy to take these data points out of context.  “The source of actual data on this national crime rate report is the FBI Report of Offenses Known to Law Enforcement for the corresponding year or years.”  The FBI does warn people about making assumptions just based on these comparisons. The crimes are reported per 100,000 people.  In New York, three hundred and thirty-five murders happened per one hundred thousand people.  You can see rapes, violent crimes and property crimes.  Unfortunately, these facts do not give the context to the figures.  When you look at murder, it does not say where or who or what they were doing.  The violent crime does not distinguish between a punch and a stabbing.  Decisions should not be made based on these few data points.  The same is true of the other cities that we have looked at this semester.

Deportation is also a problem.  It gives you the data about the state they were deported from.  You can narrow it down to where they were deported to.  It also lists crimes.  It is done by calendar month or year and can be given in a number or percentage.  This is such a global view.  It is hard to make decisions based on this data.  I think the documentaries about the people who were fearing deportation is much more meaningful than just the numbers.

Stop and Frisk

This is a practice that is very common in New York City.  The police will stop people to check for weapons or other things and temporary detain them in jail.  They will question random civilians for any illegal items.  The supporters of this practice say that it saves lives by stopping criminals before they have committed crimes.  However, this program overwhelmingly targets minorities.  In 2017, ten percent of the people who were stopped by police were African Americans or Latinos.  About seventy percent of the people who were stopped were innocent.

An example of this would be Tyquan Brehon who was stopped by the police over sixty times before his eighteenth birthday.  He was handcuffed and placed in a cell even though he was doing nothing wrong, the police still detained him.  This caused him serious mental problems.  Because of this, he did behaviors that would get him expelled from school. It is not hard to believe that he would have problems with authority and police.  The problem with Stop and Frisk is that it supports structural racism.  Minorities are targeted to keep them down since police activity and violence is concentrated in minority impoverished areas.

The feature documentary “Stop-Challenging NYPD’s Stop and Frisk”, follows the life of David Ourlicht.  He was one of the four people who challenged the legality of this activity.  One of the things that stand out to me from the film is how the police handle citizen whom they frisked on the street.  They didn’t care about the rights of the people or their civil liberty. They were treated like common criminals. The statements of the lead attorneys, police officers and even the Mayor Bloomberg shows that the city was completely divided.

Deportation and Sanctuary Cities

A sanctuary city is a city that limits their cooperation with deportation authorities.  This should be a safe city that would prevent their immigrants from being deported.  Most of the cities do this by prohibiting I.C.E. from detaining immigrants for extended periods of time.  San Francisco is one of the largest sanctuary cities.  New York and Chicago are also large sanctuary cities.  Many communities have come together and decided to protect immigrants. This is especially seen in faith-based communities.   Immigrants can claim sanctuary in churches to protect them from I. C. E. since they believe that they are upholding their faith by protecting their people.

Reflection

My biggest take away from the readings is the problems with Stop and Frisk.  It is hard to believe that the police who are supposed to protect people can treat minorities with such disregard.  They are trampling the rights and terrorizing vulnerable communities.  I would tell people that this practice goes against the very principals of America.  America was founded by people from another country. It is commonly referred to as the “melting pot”.  It is just unethical to continue this practice.