Magazine article USA TODAY

Minority Homicide Rates Falling Fastest

Magazine article USA TODAY

Minority Homicide Rates Falling Fastest

Article excerpt

While homicide victimization rates have declined for whites, blacks, and Hispanics in the U.S. over the last quarter-century, the drop has been much more precipitous for the two minority groups, according to a study in American Sociological Review.

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

Light and coauthor Jeffery T. Ulmer, professor of sociology and criminology at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, found that the white homicide victimization rate declined to 3.1 per 100,000 (from 4.8 in 1990). For blacks, the decline was from 33.9 to 20.5; for Hispanics, 12.4 to 6.6.

"Despite substantial contemporary public and media attention to issues of race, crime, and justice, we know very little about the trends in criminal violence for whites, blacks, and Hispanics in recent decades," maintains Light. "This is largely due to data limitations, as ethnic identifiers are not readily available in many official crime statistics. …

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