After returning home from a trip to Tuskegee in Macon County (AL), I found myself wondering whether there is any truth to the assumption that there is a crime problem in that area.
When I last toured Tuskegee with Paul Kersey in 2012, I took some photos with my smartphone of these yard signs which I had noticed were sprouting up like mushrooms around town.
According to the 2010 Census, Macon County (AL) is 81.5% African-American and 16.7% White. The City of Tuskegee, which is the home of Tuskegee University, is 95.8% African-American and 1.9% White. Lee County (AL) is 72.3% White and 23% African-American. The City of Auburn, which is the home of Auburn University, is 75.1% White and 16.5% African-American.
Is there any difference in the crime rate in Tuskegee in Macon County (AL) and Auburn in Lee County (AL)? Is there any way to measure and judge “the content of our character” of the people who live in these communities?
To answer that question, I went to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center and downloaded Crime in Alabama 2011. In 2011, which is the latest year crime statistics are available, there were 634 index crimes in Tuskegee, 1 homicide, 1 rape, 14 robberies, 60 assaults, 266 burglaries, 254 thefts, and 37 motor vehicle thefts. In Auburn in 2011, there were 0 homicides, 12 rapes, 48 robberies, 92 assaults, 550 burglaries, 1,520 thefts, and 73 motor vehicle thefts.
According to the 2010 Census, there are 53,637 people in Auburn and 9,912 people in Tuskegee. In order to measure the relative crime rate in Auburn vs. Tuskegee, we need to find the per capita crime rate of these two cities which we can get by dividing the number of recorded crimes by the number of people who live in Auburn and Tuskegee and multiplying that number by 100,000.
In Tuskegee, there were 6,339 index crimes per capita, 20.17 homicides, 10.09 rapes, 141.2 robberies, 605.32 assaults, 2683.61 burglaries, 2562.55 thefts, and 373.28 motor vehicle thefts.
In Auburn, there were 4,278 index crimes per capita, 0 homicides, 22.37 rapes, 89.49 robberies, 171.52 assaults, 1025.41 burglaries, 2833.86 thefts, and 136.1 motor vehicle thefts.
Unfortunately, I can’t find the data to break these numbers down at the city level by race and arrests, so we can only guess at who is committing these crimes in Tuskegee and Auburn. In 2010, we know that while African-Americans were 26.5% of the population of Alabama, they were responsible for 62% of homicides, 55% of rapes, 77% of robberies, 55% of aggravated assaults, and 59% of burglaries statewide.
Is it “racist” to say that Tuskegee is a violent area? Is it “racist” to warn people who are traveling through that area? Is it “racist” to say that African-Americans in Alabama are more inclined to criminality than White people?
Who cares? The only question that should matter to anyone is whether a claim is true or false. The crime statistics which the State of Alabama is required by statute to compile every year for the FBI verifies that 1.) Tuskegee has a greater crime problem than Auburn and 2.) that African-Americans are committing a disproportionate share of the violent crime and property crime in Alabama.
The City of Tuskegee is saying “Enough is Enough, Please Tuskegee, Help Stop The Violence!” The same is true of the City of Union Springs, the City of Selma, the City of Birmingham, the City of Bessemer, and the City of Montgomery where – largely due to “the content of character” of African-Americans, and their embrace of MLK’s “philosophy of non-violence” – the homicide rate reached a five year high in 2012 and the “Enough is Enough” campaign has promised to be more active in 2013.
Fifty years after MLK’s victory in Birmingham in 1963, the reality of violence in Alabama in 2013 (as opposed to sensational images which were taken out of context) isn’t a story that interests the Northeastern-based Mainstream Media (MSM), and neither is the effective result of the Civil Rights Movement in Tuskegee after half a century of black empowerment in Macon County (AL).
Perhaps some follow up is needed? What happened to Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, Tuskegee and other symbolic cities in Alabama that were demonized by the Mainstream Media for their resistance to integration until they were redeemed by MLK and the Civil Rights Movement?
Someone ought to go into these places and do the job that journalists and historians are unwilling to do. More on that in the weeks to come.
Note: The math nerds who browse this website are encouraged to check these numbers to verify their accuracy.