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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6 thoughts on “African Americans Speak Out On Reasons for High Crime Statistics in Local Black Community”
I think we have a problem in Natchitoches. I see that African Americans have made great progress here in the last 30-40 years. There are still too many African Americans who are not a part of our regular society but seem to live on the fringes. Why??? I am not sure. There is free schooling from pre K through High School. After that; there is Trade School where on can learn a trade, or Community College where one can get an Associate Degree and/or a local 4 year college where one can earn Bachelor and Master’s degree. No money: free Pell Grants are available. One can also borrow money thru student loans if needed. I do not think white folks can fix the problem in the Black or African American community. There has to be a change from within by stopping shaming students who strive for excellence and are then bullied and called “acting white.” Value education. Value learning. Do your best. Show respect and be respected. The change must be internal. I will also acknowledge that a similar attitude of helplessness exists in many parts of white rural America. I see it all over. Parents, single or not, MUST take charge of their children and put them on the right path very early.
Please know that I am the son of white sharecropper parents who were mired in poverty for many years. I know what being poor really means. We only broke out when my father moved to Texas and went to work on a drilling rig seven days a week. I and my brother and sister went to a great High School and we all later were able to obtain a college degree. The government cannot pull us out of poverty into a successful life. That is up to us.
Laws are not enforced the same way in all neighborhoods and statistics have a history of being bais toward blacks. People may be more eager to look for solutions to this drug and crime problem when it’s effects on their own communities are truthfully told. People need to be educated about these chemical drugs and their consequences before they use them. Young men can be taught skills to get work and earn a honest living; they can be taught how to create business opportunities for themselves and others. We have to give them an alternative to slanging drugs.
More people should read George Orwellian, than we would be on the same page.
Yea, we should never allow racist to use statistics….unless of course it used by some government agency to explain away crime and place blame somewhere else. If the cops arrest too many of one demographic its racist and if they don’t arrest enough of one demographic its racist. Funny how one mans statistic is racist and to another it’s just reality.
I saw at least twice that “some people get off” indicating that white people who committed the same crimes were not arrested. What actual proof is there that this happens? The arrest numbers are tangiable proof that in those categories listed, African Americans committed the majority of the crimes. I think the answers dance around the some of the more obvious problems facing African Americans in Natchitoches. Lack of available role models and mentors as well as the education system. Having a constant and compentent role model is vital for young children growing up, no matter what the race! Our education system is failing us. Teachers get paid less than janitors to attempt to motivate and teach children who would rather be anywhere else. Fix the issues by paying the right teachers to teach in our schools. Notice I said the “right” teachers, because not all teachers care to give their best effort…like any other place of work, some give 110% others fill a seat. In an average week, teachers will spend far more time with your child than you do! We need to be filling those positions with the very best and brightest minds that also have the ability to truly influence our young. I don’t know this for a fact, but I can bet of all the people arrested in all the categories listed above, none of them were college graduates (except in maybe the drug arrests. That spills into all economic groups and levels). So there is a statistic for the author, of all the arrests in 2016, how many had HS level or higher education? If that was an actual statistic, we would see some eye opening numbers. Educate our young through cooperative teacher / parent / mentor interactions. Mentor our young to be hungry for eduaction, eyeful for opportunities and respectful to EVERY human being. Last thing, ask yourself, “what am I doing to make a difference?”
I disagree with the approach that was used here to eliminate racial bias. Bias is “prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.” By only asking folks from our black community a basis was created.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the approach. I simply find it flawed. I also don’t see this as an “African American” problem, thus asking only African Americans implies it is their issue to sort through. It’s a community issue, point blank. There are many different perspectives from varying perspectives that may offer solutions, but ultimately the solution comes down to gathering those differing perspectives together in one collaborative session and laying out a well though out plan to tackle the cultural and ethical issues we see emerging in our community today.
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