FBI Upgrades Latinos to their Own Category in Crime Reports

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will begin separating out arrests involving Latinos in their annual crime reports, doing for this ethnic group what the FBI has already done for whites, blacks and Asians.


Until now, it was impossible to know just how many Latinos were arrested and for what types of crimes because FBI tabulations only revealed numbers by race, which factored in Caucasians, African-Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans or Alaska Natives.


The bureau could have made this move a lot sooner.


The Office of Management and Budget first authorized the FBI to collect ethnicity data for the country in 1980. The FBI then started to sort out crimes by ethnicity, but gave up on the effort in 1987. In the meantime, local law enforcement agencies have continued collecting the data over the years.


Lynda Garcia, a fellow with the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project, said the FBI’s exclusion of Latinos from national arrest statistics probably resulted in masking arrest bias against this group of Americans.


“Without the data, we don’t know if the Hispanic community is also being targeted for marijuana possession more than white communities,” Garcia told The Huffington Post. “It’s a pretty big number to be just kind of fudging."

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

FBI To Track Latino Arrests For Uniform Crime Report (by Roque Planas, Huffington Post)

FBI To Start Tracking Hate Crimes Against Sikhs, Hindus and Arabs (by Jaweed Kaleem, Huffington Post)


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