9.26.2012

san francisco police have been categorizing all asian arrests as "chinese"

Ridiculous. Just how old and crappy is the San Francisco Police Department's data entry system? Up until recently, the department only had four categories for identifying the race of someone arrested: White, Black, Other and Chinese.

That's it. Basically, according to the SFPD's decades-old computer system, nearly all arrestees of Asian descent were classified as "Chinese" regardless if you were Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and on and on: Police list arrested Asians as 'Chinese.'

What kind of ignorant, archaic stupidity is this?
The San Francisco Police Department, relying on antiquated computer technology, routinely recorded nearly all Asians who were arrested in the city as “Chinese” until this month, department officials said.

Arrest data that included the “Chinese” numbers was released to the public and sent to law enforcement agencies for at least 10 years, contributing to a skewed understanding of who was being arrested by San Francisco police.

The Chinese classifications baffled Asian community leaders who said the lack of statistics about Asian arrests have made it difficult to know where to focus scarce resources and have contributed to a stereotype of most Asian groups as "model minorities" who never commit crimes.
Damn, that's a lot of Chinese responsible for Asian crime in the city. This is not only some blatantly irresponsible data collection, but in the city of San Francisco, with one of the largest Asian populations in the country, it has serious implications, including significant misallocation of funds and resources for who the hell knows how long.

This month, the San Francisco Police Department started collecting accurate data for the 18 ethnic categories accepted by the California Department of Justice based on how people who are arrested identify themselves. It only took forty years.