San Francisco Police Recorded all Arrested Asians as Chinese and Latinos as White
The San Francisco Police Department is long overdue for a computer upgrade. Due to the department’s antiquated software, all Asian Americans arrested have been listed as “Chinese” while all Latinos were marked down as “white.”
The problem resides with computer technology that’s 40 years old. When officers log arrests, they have only four options to choose from when identifying an arrestee: white, black, Chinese and other.
Consequently, police statistics have become skewed, making it appear that Chinese residents are committing nearly all crimes among Asian Americans in San Francisco.
Chinese are the largest Asian group in the city, accounting for 64% of Asian minorities.
Minority advocates were outraged by the news that police can’t properly report the ethnic backgrounds of criminals.
“This is just extremely troubling,” Francisco Ugarte, senior immigration attorney at the San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network, told The Bay Citizen. “If San Francisco is effectively unable to categorize those in the city being arrested, that would undermine our ability to monitor police practices – particularly in San Francisco, with such a huge Latino population.”
Latinos comprise 15% of San Francisco’s population, but, according to official statistics, account for only 1.5% of all arrests. Even this small number is the result of arrests made by the California Highway Patrol within the city, since the Highway Patrol uses a more modern computer system.
On September 12, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr assured the city police commission that from now on, his department, using the 18 ethnic categories accepted by the California Department of Justice, will allow arrestees to self-identify their ethnic group.
To Learn More:
Police List Arrested Asians As 'Chinese' (by Shoshana Walter, Bay Citizen)
SF Police Underreport Arrest Rates for Latinos, Asians (by Shoshana Walter, Bay Citizen)
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