Race and crime in the United States
|Genetics and differences|
The relationship between
In the United States, crime data are collected from three major sources:
The Uniform Crime Reports represent the primary source of data used in the calculation of official statistics regarding serious crimes such as murder and homicide, which is supplemented by the information provided through the NCVS and self-report studies, the latter being the best indicator of actual crime rates for minor offenses such as
Established in 1927, the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) program is a summary-based reporting system that collects data on crime reported to local and state law enforcement agencies across the US. The UCR system indexes crimes under two headings: Part I and Part II offenses. Part I offenses include:
There are fundamental limitations of the UCR system, including:
As a response to these and other limitations, a new system of crime data collection was established in 1988 as an outgrowth of the UCR system. The
The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) program, established in 1972, is a national survey of a representative sample of households in the United States which covers the frequency of crime victimization and the characteristics and consequences of victimization. The primary purpose behind the NCVS program is to gather information on crimes that were not reported to police, though information is also collected on reported crimes. The survey collects data on rape, assault, robbery, burglary, personal and household larceny and motor vehicle theft. The NCVS also includes supplemental questions which allow information to be gathered on tangentially relevant issues such as school violence, attitudes towards law enforcement or perceptions regarding crime.
There are fundamental limitations to the NCVS program, including:
According to the NCVS for 1992–2000, 43% of violent criminal acts, and 53% of serious violent crime (not verbal threats, or cuts and bruises) were reported to the police. Overall, black (49%) and Native Americans (48%) victims reported most often, higher than whites (42%) and Asians (40%). Serious violent crime and aggravated assault against blacks (58% and 61%) and Native Americans (55% and 59%) was reported more often than against whites (51% and 54%) or Asians (50% and 51%). Native Americans were unusually unlikely to report a robbery (45%), as with Asians and a simple assault (31%).
Despite the differences in the amount of crime reported, comparisons of the UCR and NCVS data sets show there to be a high degree of correspondence between the two systems. This correspondence extends to the racial demography of both perpetrators and victims of violent crime reported in both systems.
The UCR classifies most Hispanics into the "white" category. The NCVS classifies some Hispanic criminals as "white" and some as "other race". The victim categories for the NCVS are more distinct.
According to a report by the National Council of La Raza, research obstacles undermine the census of Latinos in prison, and "Latinos in the criminal justice system are seriously undercounted. The true extent of the overrepresentation of Latinos in the system probably is significantly greater than researchers have been able to document. Lack of empirical data on Latinos is partially due to prisons' failures to document race at intake, or recording practices that historically have classified Latinos as white.
Overall the FBI didn't include a 'Latino' or 'Hispanic' category until recently and 93% of Hispanics are classified as "white" by law enforcement officers (irrespective of their ancestry) often inflating the amount of crimes attributed to whites.