Currently viewing the tag: "Ferguson"

Three writers who have seen a bit of police excess in their lives and reporting adventures discuss Ferguson, media, and what it would take for the rest of the country to demand real reform of the po-pos.

Host: Lucy Steigerwald: Columnist for VICE.com, Antiwar.com, Rare.us, and Editor in Chief of The Stag Blog; @lucystag

Guests: Michael Tracey, reporter for VICE, The American Conservative, The Nation, Salon; @mtracey

Justin Glawe, reporter for The Daily Beast, VICE; @justinglawe

Not Ed Krayewski, because his tech failed.

Pittsburgh, a city of about 305,000, is a safe and relatively crime-free city, right?

Ferguson, Missouri, is lawless and crime-ridden and needs an aggressive police force to keep its citizens in line, right?

But let’s look at some boring numbers.

The St. Louis County city’s population of 21,000 – roughly 65 percent black and 35 percent white — has 54 cops.

All but 3 are white, which has caused black leaders and the media to assume that the disproportionate number of black people stopped by police is a result of racism.images

Maybe.

It could be that Ferguson’s cops had so little real crime to worry about they, like many of their brethren in all-white and super-safe suburbs across the land, concentrated on petty traffic stops and harassing teenagers.

Without a real breakdown on actual “crimes” and such statistics as the ages of the races (old white folks are less likely to be stopped by police, while young black males on foot or in cars will be targeted, etc.) and the profiles of the convicted criminals, the numbers thrown around by the media and idiots like The Rev. Al Sharpton mean nothing.

Statistics can lie and confuse but they can also illuminate.

For example, Pittsburgh’s population is about 25 percent black. Its crime stats – particularly the 41 homicides in 2012 – were like most big cities heavily skewed by the black-male-on-black-male drug-gang wars on its streets. Otherwise, Pittsburgh is an incredible safe town, at least as far being a murder victim is concerned.

But as we watch Ferguson’s nightly riots and lootings (mostly performed by out-of-town trouble-makers), let’s not feel so smug, Pittsburghers.

Below, courtesy of city-data.com, are the crime stats for Ferguson and the city of Pittsburgh.

In 2012, the last year city-data.com offers, Pittsburgh’s murder rate per 100,000 people was higher than Ferguson’s. So was its rape rate and robbery rate. Pittsburgh’s assault rape was twice as high.

Ferguson’s bad guys did more burglaries, stole more cars and committed more thefts per 100,000 people, but Pittsburgh blew Ferguson away on arsons – 249 to 0, though the virtual absence of arsons  in Ferguson from 2000 to 2012 is highly suspicious.

Over all, according to city-data’s numbers anyway, Ferguson commits more crimes per capita than Pittsburgh.

The average crime rate for the United States is meaningless, since it includes virtually crimeless places like Vermont and there is no such place as Average Town, USA.

But in 2012 the U.S. average was 301.1, while Pittsburgh’s was 358.3 and Ferguson’s was 381.1. Chicago, where there were 500 murders in 2012 (most of them black males killed not by white cops but by other black males), the crime rate per 100,000 people was 562 in 2011 (the latest year city-data offered) when the national rate was 214.

So, to sum up the shocking news, Ferguson’s crime rate is only slightly higher than Pittsburgh’s but Chicago’s crime spree makes both cities look like daycare centers.

Here are the crime charts for 2011 and 2012.

Crime rates in Pittsburgh by Year
Type 2011 2012
Murders 44 41
per 100,000 14.3 13.1
Rapes 67 47
per 100,000 21.7 15.1
Robberies 1,126 1,134
per 100,000 364.9 363.3
Assaults 1,239 1,125
per 100,000 401.5 360.4
Burglaries 2,686 2,537
per 100,000 870.4 812.8
Thefts 6,897 7,610
per 100,000 2234.9 2438.2
Auto thefts 480 544
per 100,000 155.5 174.3
Arson 195 248
per 100,000 63.2 79.5
City-data.com crime rate (higher means more crime, U.S. average = 301.1) 368.2 358.3

 

Crime rates in Ferguson by Year
Type 2011 2012
Murders 5 2
per 100,000 23.5 9.4
Rapes 6 3
per 100,000 28.2 14.1
Robberies 45 38
per 100,000 211.5 178.9
Assaults 47 37
per 100,000 220.9 174.2
Burglaries 263 247
per 100,000 1235.9 1163.0
Thefts 649 699
per 100,000 3049.8 3291.3
Auto thefts 85 95
per 100,000 399.4 447.3
Arson 0 0
per 100,000 0.0 0.0
City-data.com crime rate (higher means more crime, U.S. average = 297.5) 433.0 381.1

 

Crime rates in Chicago by Year
Type 2010 2011 2012
Murders 432 431 500
per 100,000 15.2 15.9 18.5
Rapes 1,372 1,459 N/A
per 100,000 48.4 53.9 N/A
Robberies 13,757 12,408 13,476
per 100,000 485.5 458.8 497.6
Assaults 14,213 13,975 12,272
per 100,000 501.6 516.8 453.1
Burglaries 26,203 26,420 22,748
per 100,000 924.7 976.9 839.9
Thefts 74,764 72,373 72,717
per 100,000 2638.5 2676.1 2684.9
Auto thefts 19,446 19,078 17,001
per 100,000 686.3 705.4 627.7
Arson 519 503 N/A
per 100,000 18.3 18.6 N/A
City-data.com crime rate (higher means more crime, U.S. average = 301.1) 554.3 562.0 N/A

Ex-newspaperman Bill Steigerwald is the author of Dogging Steinbeck, which exposes the truth about “Travels With Charley” and celebrates Flyover America and its people. Blogs, photos, a 1960 Steinbeck/”Charley” trip timeline and more are at TruthAboutCharley.com.

Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/AP Photo

Want a peek into the deranged minds of the American people?

Look no further than the striking contrast between the most shared links on Facebook vs. Twitter.

According to content aggregation site BuzzSumo, over the past week the most shared story on Facebook about the tragedy going on in Ferguson is this piece from the Conservative Tribune, which has 93540 Facebook Shares (as of 2:46 EST, 8/14/2014).

The article highlights a video from a “young black man containing a message for the black community and rioters, challenging them to stop blaming police and white people and start taking responsibility for their own actions.”

While liberal media is continuing to stir the pot, there are plenty of common sense folk in the area who are voicing their opinion about the shooting and rioting thanks to the power of the Internet.

Awesome. This young man is absolutely right. Regardless of color, every person in the country needs to learn to take responsibility for themselves and the actions they take.

It’s a tragedy that a young man, regardless of his skin color, has had his life rubbed out. This should be the focus here, that a family has lost a child due to poor decision making.

A tragedy of this magnitude should serve as a cautionary tale about the consequences that come with the choices and decisions that are made on a daily basis, not the color of a person’s skin.

None of this should be surprising coming from a website whose tagline is “In Defense of Western Civilization.” Why blame the militarization of police or ingrained racism when you have the “liberal media” to kick around? However the most sickening part is that they completely ignore the police brutality and mishandling of the situation by blaming the killing of Michael Brown on “poor decision making.” It’s such a ridiculous (ahem) cop out, yet, it’s all too common amongst these right-wing sites to never speak a word of ill will towards the police, especially when a minority is in the cross hairs.

Contra the race-baiting, police apologetic being passed around on Facebook, Twitter’s most Retweeted link is “I am Mike Brown Live from Ferguson, MO”, a Livestream from KARG Argus radio showing videos of the protests. I assure you, you won’t find any police appeasement there.

Looking further into the most shared stories, we find an interesting mix of news and putrescent “think pieces” on the Facebook side of things.

Top 5 most shared on Facebook:

Following up the “Black America has a Message for the Race Rioters” we have noted idiot Matt Walsh clocks in at #4 with his latest tragedy-baiting screed. An article about the dangers of police militarization and a Washington Post reporter’s account of being arrested also make the list.

On Twitter, we find actual news reports and reputable sources: Washington Post x2, Business Insider, and the New York Times.

Top 5 Shared on Twitter:

So what does this all mean?

That there’s a lot of people on Facebook, and there are a lot of users who are living in fearful white-only bubbles.

Facebook currently has over 150 million users in the United States compared to Twitter’s 37 million. But even with the massive amounts of users, there’s little danger in sharing a controversial article on Facebook.

The (almost certain) homogeneity in the networks of those who shared the “blame the black people, not the police”  pieces preclude anyone from outside their friends from ever seeing it. Twitter’s open structure, on the other hand, allows for outsiders to comment, shame, and call-out anyone (for better and for worse).

Basically, on Facebook racists and those who would rather cast aspersions on the black community instead of the police are free to do so without repercussion.

And the numbers don’t lie.