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Two of America’s largest real estate search engines have removed neighbourhood crime data from their websites. While prospective buyers use this data to find the safest safe addresses to live in, which are White neighbourhoods the companies involved say it’s racist.
Until this week, buyers searching for a new home on Realtor.com could look at any number of informative map layers about their prospective new neighbourhoods, from the availability of public transport to public school ratings, or a heat map showing reported crimes.
However, in a company update posted on Monday, Realtor CEO David Doctorow announced that the crime statistics layer has been removed, in an effort to ‘level the playing field’ and ‘reimagine how we integrate safety data.’ These crime statistics, Doctorow bizarrely continued, ‘unfairly penalize communities of colour.’
Suck it up: Doctorow’s statement may read like an admission that elevated crime is part and parcel of life in a minority neighbourhood, and that implication is borne out by the FBI’s own crime statistics, which show that despite making up around 13% of the US population, African Americans are arrested for more than half of the country’s murders and 52% of its robberies.
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The crime statistics were referenced in a separate post on Monday by Christian Taubman, chief growth officer of Redfin, a rival real estate platform. Taubman said Redfin staff had discussed whether to include crime data on their search engine, but chose not to do so as crime stats claiming that statistics are inaccurate, and ‘there’s too great a risk of this inaccuracy reinforcing racial bias.’
Taubman argued that as ‘most crimes in the US go unreported’ and many of those reported crimes go unsolved, the FBI’s statistics may be skewed.
However, the reason for this is that street muggings, assaults, looting and most opportunist crimes are the most difficult to solve but are predominantly the preserve of coloureds.
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The FBI’s figures are echoed in the 2019 National Crime Victimization Survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which found that black Americans were the offenders in a quarter of all reported violent crimes. Hanging on his facile approach, Taubman dismissed this survey too, arguing that there may have been ‘racial bias’ in the data.
The simultaneous announcements by Realtor and Redfin were slated online. ‘When they argue that crime data are racist, they’re also saying that ‘crime is something that is all about black people,’ one commenter wrote.
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Categories: Current Events