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Latino Crime and Delinquency in the United States

  • Ramiro MartinezJr

There are considerable race and ethnic disparities in violence across the nation. Public health data illustrate that Latinos were three times more likely than non-Latino Whites to be a victim of homicide but almost three times less likely than Blacks to be killed (Keppel, Pearcy, & Wagenar, 2002). More recent national crime victimization surveys indicate that Latinos and Blacks were victims of robbery at similarly high rates, but Latinos were victims of aggravated assault at a level comparable to that of Whites and Blacks (Catalano, 2006). These differences remind us that social science research on racial/ethnic variations in crime must incorporate Latinos and consider variations within Latino groups in order to fully understand group differences in criminal and delinquent behavior. In this chapter, the key findings on Latinos and criminal or serious delinquent behavior in the United States are reviewed. The chapter begins by outlining the shape of ethnic disparities in violent crime and serious delinquent behavior; that is, Latino criminal activity relative to Whites, Blacks, and “Other” race and within Latino groups from two major self-report surveys of victimization and offending. This is done to draw from some of the most extensive national sources of crime and delinquency while directing attention to Latinos in general and Latino groups specifically. This is followed by a discussion of the quantitative analyses that has focused on Latino or ethnic group comparisons because most of the work on ethnicity and violent crime directs attention to the impact of economic disadvantage or deprivation in Latino areas rather than individual level studies (Peterson & Krivo, 2005). Although qualitative and ethnographic studies are important to consider, they remain limited in number relative to quantitative studies on Latinos and crime (see Dohan, 2003, and Kil & Menjívar, 2006, for exceptions). The final section considers some initial results from an ongoing analysis of nonlethal violence reported to the police in two cities-Houston and Miami-and highlights findings on ethnic disparities in delinquent behavior among youths in Chicago neighborhoods. I close by highlighting the importance of policy and addressing issues for future research as well.

Keywords

Violent Crime Delinquent Behavior Violent Victimization Ethnic Disparity Latino Population 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ramiro MartinezJr
    • 1
  1. 1.Florida International UniversityUSA

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