Changing Economy Affects Black, Latino Victimization: Study


Changing economic conditions in the U.S. can have modest effects on the rates of victimization for black and Latino males, say criminologists Janet Lauritsen of the University of Missouri St. Louis and Karen Heimer of the University of Iowa. In the latest issue of Criminology & Public Policy, they examined crime and victimization data from 1973-2005. Violent victimization trends for blacks and Latinos follow patterns of economic fluctuation and appear to be related to national economic downturns, they found. The peaks in violence coincided with periods of economic recession and high consumer pessimism. These trends do not appear to hold true for rates of white victimization.

Lauritsen and Heimer say that black and Latino males seem to be more vulnerable than whites to increases in violent victimization and increases in poverty and unemployment during periods of economic downturn because they are more likely to be employed in the least skilled jobs that are often eliminated first and in greater numbers during economic recessions. (The Criminology and Public Policy journal is available only to members of the American Society of Criminology. This item is linked to a paper on other aspects of the research that was put online by the Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice, which supported the research.)

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