Arrest rates in California are the lowest they've been in nearly four decades, but African-Americans continue to be arrested at a disproportionately high rate across the state, according to a new report released Monday evening.
Report co-author Magnus Lofstrom says he hopes the data in the Public Policy Institute of California's latest analysis can be used as a starting point to finding solutions to those inequalities.
"The first step here in moving us toward solutions and less disparity is to create this shared understanding of the facts," Lofstrom said, "and that's how we can frame constructive, solutions-oriented discussions."
Lofstrom and his colleagues studied arrest data from 1980 to 2016, and found rates had fallen 58 percent from their peak in 1989.
The PPIC analysis determined that drop was driven primarily by a sharp decrease in the number of misdemeanor arrests and the rate of arrests of young people. The rate for kids 17 or younger dropped by 84 percent, and it went down 63 percent for those ages 18 to 24.
"We don't just see a drop in juvenile crime — juvenile crime has fallen off the table in California," said Mike Males, senior research fellow with the San Francisco-based Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. "But the thing is, we don't actually know why it occurred."