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Race and Crime

Data Sources And Meaning, The Nature And Direction Of The Race And Crime Relationship, Bio-psychological TheoryConclusion

The relationship between race and crime has been a primary concern among sociologists and criminologists since the beginning of the disciplines in America. Various racial and ethnic minorities in the United States have consistently been associated with higher rates of criminality, including peoples of Italian, Polish, Irish, German, Hispanic, and African descent, among others. Throughout history, most of the "high crime groups" have been newly immigrated populations. However, at the turn of the millenium, most of these groups seem to be distinguished predominantly by their skin color, residential location, and socioeconomic status. Hispanics and African Americans living in impoverished ghetto neighborhoods are subject to disproportionate police attention, and are overly represented in court dockets, jail and prison populations, media accounts of crime, street crime victims, and public fear of crime.

Clearly, a relationship between race and crime exists. It is less clear what accounts for this relationship. Research suggests that both disproportionality and disparity play a role; however, additional research is needed to better understand the complex nature of the race/crime correlation.



Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal Law