In Ferguson, Missouri, blacks outnumber whites by more than 2-to-1. But African-Americans are arrested at a rate roughly four times higher than their white neighbors, according to Census data and Ferguson crime statistics released by the Missouri Department of Public Safety. Ferguson's arrest rate of blacks outpaces national and state numbers. The St. Louis suburb has been the site of unrest and protests in the wake of the police-involved shooting of Mike Brown, an unarmed black teenager, over the weekend.
About 14,000 blacks live in Ferguson, compared with more than 6,500 whites, according to U.S. Census data for the Missouri city. From January to April of this year, there were 27 whites arrested in the city compared with 217 blacks, or about 8.1 times as many black arrests as white arrests.
The Missouri Uniform Crime Reporting Program lists 36 offenses in its data, including murder and runaways under 18 years old. Most black people were arrested under a category called "all other offenses." In all, that represented 79 of the 217 arrests involving black people. At least 65 black suspects were arrested for larceny, the second largest category. In contrast, 13 whites were arrested for the same crime, meaning five times as many blacks were arrested for larceny as whites. Seventeen blacks were arrested on marijuana possession charges, the third-highest arrest total among African-Americans; only two whites were arrested on that offense.
Ferguson’s black-to-white arrest ratio is much higher than that of St. Louis County, which includes Ferguson. At the county level, black suspects were arrested at a rate about five times higher than whites, according to Department of Public Safety data, or 21,734 blacks compared with 12,948 whites. For Missouri as a whole, which is about 80 percent white, blacks were arrested at a rate more than three times higher than whites.
Nationwide, blacks are nearly three times as likely to get arrested as white people, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.