San Francisco Police Underreport Arrest Rates for Latinos, Asians

Shoshana Walter, California Watch, August 14, 2012

The San Francisco Police Department has underreported the arrest rates of the city’s two largest minority groups for years, misclassifying Latino arrestees as “white” and Asian arrestees as “other,” The Bay Citizen has learned.

The state has been publishing the erroneous statistics in a report called “Crime in California” since at least 1999, when the state Department of Justice first began posting the data online.

Because of the misclassifications, the department and federal and state officials have no accurate record of how often minorities are arrested in the city, creating skewed statistics and leading to widespread concern among local civil rights groups.

According to the reported data, African Americans are arrested at a much higher rate than whites. But by misclassifying Latinos, the department has inflated the number of whites arrested, indicating that the gap between the arrest rates for whites and blacks is even wider.

Over the years, concerns about racial profiling in the city’s African American and Latino communities have sparked city hearings and policy changes. Accurate, credible crime statistics were supposed to be a way to hold the department accountable. In 1999, the Police Commission ordered the police department to begin tracking racial data from all traffic stops. But disciplinary records show many officers still fail to fill out such tracking forms. And the misclassifications of Latino and Asian arrestees suggest other problems persist.


The Bay Citizen discovered the discrepancies after the California Department of Justice released the crime statistics for the year 2010 in June.

According to that report, 8,198 African Americans and 9,151 whites were arrested in San Francisco in 2010, along with 316 Hispanic adults and nine Hispanic juveniles. About 2,800 arrests are listed under “other.”

The Hispanic arrest figures included in the report come from other agencies in San Francisco, such as the California Highway Patrol, that have the authority to make arrests in the city but don’t share the police department’s antiquated computer system. {snip}


Police officers mark whether an individual is Latino or Asian on arrest reports, but Tomioka and other department officials blamed an outdated computer system for the inaccuracies. Installed in 1972, the system lists three categories for identifying arrestees by race: blacks, whites and other. Although the department could calculate the numbers manually, officers have been identifying Latinos as “white” and Asians as “other” in the computer system for years.


{snip} African Americans make up 6 percent of the population but account for 40 percent of all arrests. According to the misclassified statistics, Latinos, who constitute 15 percent of the city’s population, account for 1.5 percent of all arrests. At nearly 36 percent, Asians have become the second-largest demographic group in San Francisco, behind whites. But the statistics reported under “other” provide no indication of how often Asians are arrested in the city.



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  • California = another planet.  San Francisco = another universe. The laws of physics, common-sense and logic cease to exist in these areas.

    •  You got that right!  If I didn’t LOVE surfing and snowboarding so much I would have left CA a couple of years ago.  However, no amount of wild mexicans are going to force me out of my manifest destiny. 

      • You’re better off living somewhere else and visiting California if you must. The smart, white, taxpayers have already been heading out in droves. The remaining dependents will soon repeal Prop 13 and continue to vote themsleves more welfare benefits.

  • The__Bobster

    Will our resident Sinophile now stop squawking that Asians are more law-abiding than Whites?

    •  Last time I checked, Jared Taylor is not Sinophile, but he regularly “squawks” that Asians are more law-abiding than whites.

      In case you didn’t read the article, this underreporting of Latinos and Asians is ONLY for the San Francisco Police Department — just one law enforcement agency in one city-county (SF is both combined), in one state.

      • First off, I don’t think Bobster was referring to Jared Taylor when he said “our resident Sinophile.”

        Second, Jared Taylor “squawks?”  I beg your pardon.

        •  LOL!

          I know to whom Bobster was referring. I was just pointing out that Mr. Taylor also regularly states that Asians, on the whole, are more law-abiding than even whites, on the whole.

          As to whether Jared “squawks” about it…. 😉

          • Grrrrrrrr…that sound you hear is the return of Cranky Moddy.

        • The Verdict of History

          Did you take a vacation?

          Why have the articles for the 16th not been posted?

          I’m becoming suspicious.

          • Technical glitches prevented the posting of yesterday’s intended news items until this morning.  They are up now, backdated to yesterday.

    • Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.  Asians committing less crime is one of the biggest weapons we have against the idiots that whine about institutional racism in corrections.  Even if it’s not true it’s best we keep a lid on this one.

    • He’s a philo-everything, isn’t he? Jared “They Look White To Me” Taylor is a gutless gatekeeper who hob-nobs with rabbis.

  • IstvanIN

     Japanese, Chinese and Hindus may be less prone to crime but I do not think the same is true of the other Oriental/Muslim groups lumped together as “Asians”.

  • Chimp Master Rules

    What’s wrong with using Other?

    Many latinos are white . . . as white as any family in the middle of Indiana . . . unfortunately, they stay home.  The spanish-speakers who come here are mostly blacks, mulattos and mestizos.

    To any white Brazilian or Mexican, our confusion is ridiculous.  But it’s easier for them because there, whites have money and non-whites don’t.  Society is divided by crisp, clear lines of wealth.  One is either WHITE or not.  There’s not a lot of time wasted on distinguishing between mulatto, mestizo, full-blooded indian, asian or whatever.

    But here, in our multicult sewer, we’re afraid to just call ourselves white or non-white.  The non-white needs more definition . . . or else you can expect a lawsuit from the ACLU.

    The same principle is at work with sexual perverts:  The homosexual wants to be identified differently from the guy who wears dresses on Saturday nights and he from the guy who molests little boys.

    I have long ago quit differentiating.  You are either white, God-fearing (or at least respecting of Believers) heterosexual, non-criminal . . . or you’re just an Other.

    Confusing criminal stats have always served one purpose . . . and WE know exactly what it is, don’t we?

  • potato78

    Please don’t be so jealous that Asians are more law-abiding than Whites. 
    It is obvious that If your IQ belongs to high IQ end.

    Asian population is only 4.8%, White or European American population is 72.4%.
    Sino population in US is only 1.2%.  The population is really negligible when comparing with white or European American, Browns, Blacks, etc. 

    In US, the culture is established on the hybrid culture of White Ameircan, latino, and Blacks with “0.22222%” Sinophile culture, which can be negligible again.

    In US, political system is based on a number of votes.

    Pacific Ocean is much larger than Atlantic Ocean.

    So primary concern should be Blacks, Hispanics/Latinos, and Whites instead of “our Sinophile resident” and far east people.

    Maybe they are more likely to do “white color” crime in US.

  • Jay11

    Just google Texas most wanted, and see how many latinos are classified as whites. 

    I believe that if latinos were identified as the non-whites they are (even cubans should be designated as latinos because they are not of anglo/german/celtic – founding American background) then you would see whites as the most law abiding on the planet.

    Liberals fight tooth and nail to prevent accurate classification though.  I have seen it with my own eyes.

  • Up to my neck in CA

    The findings could mean many crimes go unreported by Asian Americans, likely because of an unfamiliarity with the system or shame about being associated with a crime,Read more: