In defense of profiling

Hillary Clinton, among others, has decried Arizona's new immigration law as "inviting racial profiling"-thereby offending nearly all Hispanics, who regard themselves as white. I assume that what she meant to say was "ethnic profiling."

This is a typical display of Democratic hypocrisy-the way that they view every issue solely in terms of its political advantage. It is painfully obvious that the Democratic Party's compassion for illegal aliens is motivated primarily by their eagerness to acquire more Hispanic votes. And so, they complain about "racial profiling" while ignoring much more flagrant cases-such as the gender profiling in rape investigations.

Considering the viciousness of rape, one would hope that police would be especially wary of profiling in such crimes.  Nonetheless, virtually all suspects investigated in rape cases are men, a group that constitutes less than half of any city's population. One rarely if ever hears of police investigating a female rape suspect. Should we then conclude that this is a flagrant example of gender profiling, instigated by the strong political clout wielded by feminist groups? Should we, for the sake of "fairness", insist on at least half of the investigated suspects being women?

Prior to becoming a political red herring, profiling was a respected and thoroughly validated law enforcement strategy. Almost nightly, on "Criminal Minds" reruns, one hears special agent Hotchner telling the local police that " the Unsub is probably a white male, in his late 20s or 30s, who did not graduate from high school and has a speech impediment...", thereby simultaneously committing the sins of racism, sexism, ageism, and disparagement of the undereducated and handicapped. Why hasn't Hillary complained about this multibigoted TV show?

Profiling is simply the application of game theory to criminal investigation. Because of the ever-present limitations of budget and manpower, police are restricted to the detainment and checking of only a small fraction of the inhabitants of an area. Therefore, they are forced to use game theory strategies to maximize the chance of a suspect check revealing a criminal.

Thus, profiling is justifiable as long as it is not motivated by bigotry or bias and provably results in a higher yield of detection of criminals. In this light, let us consider checks for illegal immigrants. Here is the data:


Probability of a Suspect Being an Illegal Alien

 

White Hispanic

White non-Hispanic

Percent of US population in 2008  [1]

15.4

65.6

Population in 2008  (total = 307,007,000)  [1]

47,300,000

201,400,000

Percent of illegal aliens  [2]

82

8

Pop. of illegal aliens (total = 11,000,000)  [2]

9,020,000

880,000

Chance of random suspect being illegal alien

1 in 5.2

1 in 22,900



Therefore, a random Hispanic suspect is about 4,400 times more likely to be an illegal alien than a non-Hispanic [3]. I have not attempted any game theory calculations but I'm confident that they would show that the optimal police strategy would be to confine checks almost entirely to Hispanics.

However, if Hillary and the DNC insist on "fairness", then I suppose that police will have to start picking up female rape suspects and special agent Hotchner and his crew will have to resign.

 

______________

NOTES:

[1] Data from the US Census Bureau.

[2] Data from the Congressional Research Service.  (hat tip: Randall Hoven).

[3] This applies to the county as a whole. As the CensusScope maps show, the Hispanic demographics of Arizona are somewhat different.



Hillary Clinton, among others, has decried Arizona's new immigration law as "inviting racial profiling"-thereby offending nearly all Hispanics, who regard themselves as white. I assume that what she meant to say was "ethnic profiling."

This is a typical display of Democratic hypocrisy-the way that they view every issue solely in terms of its political advantage. It is painfully obvious that the Democratic Party's compassion for illegal aliens is motivated primarily by their eagerness to acquire more Hispanic votes. And so, they complain about "racial profiling" while ignoring much more flagrant cases-such as the gender profiling in rape investigations.

Considering the viciousness of rape, one would hope that police would be especially wary of profiling in such crimes.  Nonetheless, virtually all suspects investigated in rape cases are men, a group that constitutes less than half of any city's population. One rarely if ever hears of police investigating a female rape suspect. Should we then conclude that this is a flagrant example of gender profiling, instigated by the strong political clout wielded by feminist groups? Should we, for the sake of "fairness", insist on at least half of the investigated suspects being women?

Prior to becoming a political red herring, profiling was a respected and thoroughly validated law enforcement strategy. Almost nightly, on "Criminal Minds" reruns, one hears special agent Hotchner telling the local police that " the Unsub is probably a white male, in his late 20s or 30s, who did not graduate from high school and has a speech impediment...", thereby simultaneously committing the sins of racism, sexism, ageism, and disparagement of the undereducated and handicapped. Why hasn't Hillary complained about this multibigoted TV show?

Profiling is simply the application of game theory to criminal investigation. Because of the ever-present limitations of budget and manpower, police are restricted to the detainment and checking of only a small fraction of the inhabitants of an area. Therefore, they are forced to use game theory strategies to maximize the chance of a suspect check revealing a criminal.

Thus, profiling is justifiable as long as it is not motivated by bigotry or bias and provably results in a higher yield of detection of criminals. In this light, let us consider checks for illegal immigrants. Here is the data:


Probability of a Suspect Being an Illegal Alien

 

White Hispanic

White non-Hispanic

Percent of US population in 2008  [1]

15.4

65.6

Population in 2008  (total = 307,007,000)  [1]

47,300,000

201,400,000

Percent of illegal aliens  [2]

82

8

Pop. of illegal aliens (total = 11,000,000)  [2]

9,020,000

880,000

Chance of random suspect being illegal alien

1 in 5.2

1 in 22,900



Therefore, a random Hispanic suspect is about 4,400 times more likely to be an illegal alien than a non-Hispanic [3]. I have not attempted any game theory calculations but I'm confident that they would show that the optimal police strategy would be to confine checks almost entirely to Hispanics.

However, if Hillary and the DNC insist on "fairness", then I suppose that police will have to start picking up female rape suspects and special agent Hotchner and his crew will have to resign.

 

______________

NOTES:

[1] Data from the US Census Bureau.

[2] Data from the Congressional Research Service.  (hat tip: Randall Hoven).

[3] This applies to the county as a whole. As the CensusScope maps show, the Hispanic demographics of Arizona are somewhat different.



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