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For Hispanics, Fewer Victims In Violent Crime

April 8, 2002
Copyright © 2002
THE NEW YORK TIMES. All Rights Reserved.

WASHINGTON, April 7 (AP) – The rate of violent crime against Hispanics fell 56 percent over seven years in the 1990's and is now similar to that against whites, the government reported today.

The decrease for Hispanics coincided with a steep drop in violent crime against all United States residents and against whites, blacks and American Indians, according to the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics.

In 1993, the violent crime rate for Hispanics was closer to that for blacks, who experienced 70 violent crimes for every 1,000 people. But by 2000, it was closer to that for whites, who incurred 27 violent crimes for every 1,000.

There were 28 violent crimes per 1,000 Hispanics older than 11 in 2000, compared with 63 violent crimes per capita in 1993, the report found. For other ethnic groups, the comparable 2000 figures were 34 per 1,000 for blacks, 52 per 1,000 for Indians and 8 per 1,000 for Asians.

Lisa Navarrete, a spokeswoman for the National Council of La Raza, attributed the decrease in violent crimes against Hispanics, at least in part, to an effort in police departments across the country to change attitudes toward Hispanics and to build trust.

The report was the first study in nearly two decades to look in detail at violent crimes specifically against Hispanics, said Callie Rennison, a Justice Department statistician, who wrote the report.

The report defined a Hispanic as someone of any race with Spanish origin, while those identified as other races refer only to non-Hispanic people of that race.

The statistics were gleaned from interviews with more than 730,000 people older than 11. The rate of violent crimes, which included rape, sexual assault, robbery and simple and aggravated assault, fell across almost all demographic categories for Hispanics. Homicide is not in the report because the survey records only crimes reported by victims.

In 2000, Hispanics were the victims of 690,470 violent crimes, or 11 percent of the total – a number roughly proportionate to Hispanics' representation in the total population. Most were simple assaults.

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