The Federal Bureau of Investigation has released its latest "Crime in the United States" report for 2010, and the numbers are interesting, if not troubling.
Nationally, the number of arrests in 2010 (13,120,947, excluding traffic violations) declined by 4.14 percent over 2009, attributable in large part to a decrease in violent offenses. However, the Volunteer State witnessed an uptick to the tune of 1,829 arrests for "violent crime," which the FBI defines as "murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault," over what was reported to the agency last year. Of all the state's violent offenders, most were charged with aggravated assault (12,095), followed by robbery (2,296), forcible rape (335) and murder/non-negligent manslaughter (253).
Cumulatively, over 1.5 million people have been arrested in Tennessee between 2006 and 2010, reflecting a significant surge over the previous five years (2001-2005) which saw 1.2 million arrests.
The number of Tennesseans given a citation or handcuffed totaled 327,693 last year — 22,434 more than 2009's 305,259 (that's more than one arrest per every two residents of Davidson County), and 42,218 over 2006's relatively rosier 285,475. Correspondingly, the number of law enforcement employees jumped by 1,550 between 2006 and 2010, as did Tennessee's population by 307,302 over the same time period, which works out to one new officer of the law for every 198 additional Tennesseans.
Not surprisingly, the bulk of those being processed into the criminal justice system by way of a squad car are non-violent drug offenders. As arrests for violent crimes declined by 13 percent over the last decade, a gradual rise in the arrest rate for drugs, specifically possession of marijuana, has picked up the slack. The FBI estimates that roughly 52 percent of drug arrests in the South involved potheads last year, and other data show that over the past 15 years marijuana arrests increased by 45 percent.
Even worse, African-Americans are arrested for drug offenses at much higher rates than whites, accounting for 31.8 percent of drug offenses despite representing less than 13 percent of the overall U.S. population. Generally, blacks account for 28 percent of all arrests in these United States, according to the data.
For that, you can thank the War on Drugs (which cost taxpayers $500 per second last year) and the support it enjoys from virtually every elected official in the land, including this (usually) eloquent guy: