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NCJ Number: 76983 Find in a Library
Title: Socioeconomic and Racial Issues in the Measurement of Criminal Involvement (From Race, Crime and Criminal Justice, P 31-47, 1981, R L McNeely and Carl E Pope, ed. - See NCJ-76982)
Author(s): R L McNeely; C E Pope
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the measurement of crime as it relates to the differential involvement of blacks and whites.
Abstract: Victimization findings and official statistics (e.g., Uniform Crime Reports) show that blacks are overrepresented with regard to their population base in common law personal crimes of rape, robbery, and assault. Self-report surveys, on the other hand, have reached opposite conclusions; when asked to disclose their own criminal involvement, black and white respondents reveal either zero or minimal differences. Each measurement source suffers from methodological biases which render any conclusions regarding race and crime questionable. For example, the accuracy of victims' perceptions regarding the characteristics of incidents and/or offenders has been questioned in several studies. The official data reflect a disproportionate arrest rate for blacks and other minority groups. Moreover, most self-reports are weighted toward trivial incidents, such as smoking cigarettes, since they are usually conducted among juveniles within high school populations. However, any attempt to examine the relationship between race and crime must take into account the historical and contemporary disadvantaged status of blacks and other minorities compared to that of whites. Although certain subgroups of the black population have experienced recent socioeconomic progress, other subgroups, including behaviorally volatile 16 to 19 year olds have experienced dire retrogression. For example, in 1976 and 1977 the ratio of median black to median white family income has dropped to about 59 percent, according to Bureau of the Census data. Moreover, the feelings of personal victimization due to economic and other forms of subjugation often precipitate personal crimes. Thus, future research dealing with race and crime should not become part of the forces arguing in favor of retrenchment and racial repression. A discussion of relevant literature, statistical data, and about 40 references are included.
Index Term(s): Black/African Americans; Black/White Crime Comparisons; Crime rate studies; Crime surveys; Data integrity; Minorities; Racial discrimination; Self-report studies; Social conditions; Socioeconomic causes of delinquency; Statistical bias
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