It’s an unpleasant subject. Escambia County has a problem with white crime. From 2008 through 2012, the sheriff’s office reports that of the 41,054 offense reports where the race of both the victim and suspect could be identified, 55 percent of the crimes were committed by white people.
Moreover, when the victim was white, the statistics show that the suspect was four and a half times more likely to also be white. The crime numbers are alarming.
Of the 21 homicides of white people in Escambia County over the past four years, the suspect was white in 20 of those cases. For aggravated assault in the white community, 78 percent of suspects were also white. If a white person was a victim of sexual battery, 59 percent of the time the suspect was also white. For simple batteries, white suspects were sought in a staggering 83 percent of the cases.
And sadly, while white suspects were identified in 21,422 of the offense reports, the majority of the county jail inmate population is African-American. These white criminals are free to roam our streets, apparently without fear of our criminal justice system.
Clearly there is a problem in our white neighborhoods. The white politicians need to come up with answers to deal with their people. Owning more guns than the other parts of the county isn’t an answer. Town hall meetings and public service announcements are needed to curb this white-on-white crime epidemic.
It’s difficult to determine the impact that celebrities like Miley Cyrus and television shows like “Breaking Bad” have had on crime in our white neighborhoods, but our pop culture isn’t helping us.
I suspect the blame should be placed on the disintegration of the family unit and our failing public schools. While the Escambia County School District hasn’t closed a school in a white neighborhood for decades, nearly a third of our white students aren’t graduating from high school in four years.
All of these facts are real, and, yes, I’ve sifted through them to make a point. Crime isn’t about race. Because many of our neighborhoods are segregated, the targets that most criminals choose have the same skin color as themselves. That shouldn’t be a surprise.
It’s incumbent upon our local elected officials, law enforcement and public schools to protect and serve all of our neighborhoods. Until we offer programs that deal with the roots of crime—poverty, failing education and the lack of job opportunities, crime—white, black and whatever—will continue to plague this county.