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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 72054 Find in a Library
Title: Perceived Criminality - The Attribution of Criminal Race From News-Reported Crime
Author(s): J B Mayas
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 105
Sponsoring Agency: UMI Dissertation Services
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
Sale Source: UMI Dissertation Services
300 North Zeeb Road
P.O. Box 1346
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
United States of America
Type: Thesis/Dissertation
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Results are reported from a study that examined attributions of race to undescribed offenders by respondents upon reading news accounts of crimes where only the nature of the crime and its location were given.
Abstract: A total of 393 usable questionnaires were obtained in the study, which was conducted in Detroit, Michigan. The questionnaire was self-administered and contained four experimental stories of offenses of embezzlement, homicide, mail fraud, and assault. Immediately following each story were questions about the characteristics of the offenders who committed the crime (age, education, race, first-offender status, and whether the offender lived in the neighborhood where the incident occurred). None of these characteristics were given in the offense account. All had to be deduced from the nature of the crime and its location. The questionnaire also asked the respondents to indicate the seriousness of the crime. In addition, the respondents indicated their patterns of mass-media consumption, personal victimization experiences, and perceptions of changes in victimization patterns over recent years in various Detroit metropolitan areas and other cities in the United States. Results showed (1) reported violent crimes are most often attributed to blacks and nonviolent crimes to whites; (2) white respondents attribute more crimes to blacks than do black respondents; (3) moderately high confidence accompanied racial identification based on the minimal information in the new report; and (4) respondents who had been victimized or who had family members victimized by blacks expressed greater race attribution certainty than those victimized by a white offender. Other results show (5) black and white respondents rate the severity of violent crimes similarly; (6) blacks perceive nonviolent crimes to be more serious than do whites; (7) severity of the crime is influenced by the race attributed to the offender; and (8) patterns of mass-media consumption do not significantly affect race attributions or perceived seriousness of the crimes described. A sample of the questionnaire is appended. Tabular and graphic data and approximately 70 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Discrimination; Offender physical characteristics; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Questionnaires; Research
Note: University of Michigan - doctoral dissertation
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