Racial Gaps in Homicide Victim Rates Changing

Overall homicide victim rates in the United States fell between 1990 and 2010, but the decrease was much larger among blacks and Hispanics than among whites, a new study finds.

During that time, homicide victim rates fell 47 percent among Hispanics (calculated by the number of homicide victims per 100,000 Hispanics), 40 percent for blacks, and 35 percent for whites, the study showed.

The findings were published in the April issue of the journal American Sociological Review.

“Because criminologists have long viewed group disparities in criminal violence as important indicators of broader patterns of racial/ethnic inequality, these appear to be promising trends,” said lead author Michael Light, an assistant professor of sociology at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Ind.

Although there’s been a great deal of attention from the public and the media focused on race, crime and justice, there wasn’t a lot of evidence available about trends in violence, crime and race, Light explained.

“Our study is the first to show the trends in homicide victimization rates for these three groups from 1990 through 2010 in the U.S., as well as the first to show the racial and ethnic gaps in these rates,” Light said in a journal news release.

A major reason for the greater decreases in homicide victim rates among blacks and Hispanics than whites is a decline in segregated neighborhoods and racial differences in poverty and unemployment, the researchers said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers resources on violence prevention.

Source: HealthDay

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