The research compared two surveys to judge people’s perceptions about violent crimes with actual statistics, according to the Washington Post.
The “mean perceived percentage” are the results of responses from white people in two telephone surveys. A random telephone survey in 2005 and another in 2010. The “actual percentages” were taken from different annual statistics published by the U.S. Department of Justice.
In Florida, the results showed that the “mean perceived percentage” of violent crimes committed by Blacks was more than 40 percent when the “actual percentage” was slightly more than 20 percent.
The “mean perceived percentage” of Black people who break into homes and businesses was also more than 40 percent while the “actual percentage” was just under 30 percent.
On a national scale, whites’ assumption of crimes committed by Blacks was closer, but they still over shot the “actual percentage.”
The “mean perceived percentage” of Blacks who sell illegal drugs was close to 40 percent, but the “actual percentage” was closer to 30 percent.
The “mean perceived percentage” of Black juveniles who commit crimes was slightly more than 40 percent, but again, the “actual percentage” was around 30 percent.
Justin Pickett, assistant professor at the University of Albany and lead author of the study, said the numbers tend to vary based on how the question was asked, but the surveys do suggest that white people, on average, believe that Black people commit more street crimes than whites do, he told The Post.
A 2012 report by The Sentencing Project, “Racial Perceptions of Crime and Support for Punitive Policies,” concluded that racial perceptions of crime have led to the deaths of innocent people of color at the hands of fearful civilians and police officers.
“Unless we tackle these issues head-on, we’ll continue to have more Fergusons and a criminal justice system that’s on overdrive,” Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Ph.D., author and research analyst of The Sentencing Project report, told the Houston Forward Times.