By Edwin Crayton/Opinion
According to a recent local crime statistics report obtained from the Natchitoches Police Department, from January to December of 2016, among all racial groups African Americans committed the highest number of violations in most categories. The startling report covers violations in areas such as burglary, narcotics, DUI, assault, weapons violations, failure to appear in court, stealing and receiving stolen goods, murder and robbery. In categories such as driving under the influence, vandalism, weapons violations and failure to appear in court, blacks were, disturbingly, the dominant group arrested or cited. In some categories, blacks dominated the categories by a large margin. For instance, in narcotics arrests, of 252, 215 were black. In burglary, of 41 arrests, 38 were black. To be fair, it should be noted that African Americans are also now the majority population in Natchitoches and growing, and so it would naturally make sense that any growing group that is in the majority would commit the majority of offenses. But is something else going on?
These statistics should not be used to stereotypically imply that all African Americans are out committing tons of crimes. The numbers don’t show that. Indeed, the number of arrests is actually quite small when you consider that the highest number in any category is three figures. Yet, it bears looking into. This poll asked people for their thoughts. To be clear, this kind of statistical data can be dynamite in the wrong hands. Racists can use this to wrongly imply that blacks commit more crimes. That is not true. Also, the numbers are quite low when you take a step back and realize that the stats account for an entire 12 months. And realize that stats change from year to year and this is only for the 12 months in 2016. Maybe this year, whites will be the leading group in violations. Still it is worth noting that the numbers do tell a story and perhaps serve as a warning and should inspire us to consider solutions.
One way to take the racial bias out of this was to ask only African Americans. It is also the truth that although everyone should help and be concerned, in the end, the solution must primarily come from the black community. So the idea was, why not ask only African Americans their thoughts on why it’s happening and what should be done. This poll asks a simple question: Why do you think African Americans are leading in so many crime categories, and what should be done about it?
Kevin Jones, Natchitoches: (Jones moved here from New York City): “Blacks in Natchitoches are self-destructive. Which is why we have higher crime and incarceration rates. Black homes are burglarized more. Why? Some Blacks feel they can’t accomplish goals so they feel burglarizing will support their needs. They need to get educated rather than be on the streets. We have a problem nationally, but it’s bad for a small town. We have a mayor who has no concern for Blacks. He has no program for the homeless. No shelters. I’m from New York City and in New York there are more resources. Successful blacks are accountable and black politicians. I see that there is a black-run foundation, Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation that has a million dollars. They could take that money and feed and house people.”
Rita Horton: “Lack of jobs. Lack of job training. In the media, we see a life we want. But we can’t all afford it. Some try to get those things by any means necessary. We live in a materialistic society. Once there was no stigma to being poor. Now there is.”
John Lawhorne: “It goes back to home training. Parents aren’t teaching their kids. Training starts at home when you’re a toddler. Are the stats biased? Somewhat biased. It’s about how the laws are enforced. Some people get off because of how they present themselves. A key element (for our community) is education or lack thereof.”
Danielle: “We need more positive things in our community. And there’s also not enough enforcement (of the law).”
Robert Jackson Sr.: “We need to have a summit to discuss these issues and solutions.”
Harold Bayonne: “Are Blacks profiled? Yeah. But I believe the statistics, too. However, the crimes of whites may be under-reported. What are the reasons for these numbers? Three reasons. First is drugs. Second is economics. Third is spiritual bankruptcy. We need more God and hope. And hope does not disappoint. I believe we have a problem in Natchitoches, Grant, Winn and Sabine Parishes. There is drug problem. Meth is hitting the white community. What is the solution? Spiritual war on drugs. Prevention and Awareness from the first grade student and on up. We also need rehab centers—somebody somewhere has declared chemical war on America. They may have hit the Black Community first. We must declare spiritual warfare.”
Elmay Garrett: It is possible that the statistics could be biased in that some people may be getting breaks. The solution is that people need God in their lives.
View CrimeReports on NPD site: CLICK HERE
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