How have crime statistics by race changed in the last century?


Quick Answer

Crime statistics by race have not significantly changed in the last century. African Americans and Latinos, despite making up approximately 30 percent of the total general population, account for approximately 60 percent of the prison population in the United States. The most recent decade has seen some promising changes, though.

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Full Answer

Crime rates, in general, increased every year between 1960 and 1991. In 1960, there were 1887.2 violent crimes committed per 100,000. That rose to 5898.4 in 1991 and has since decreased to 4118.8 in 2002.

The staggering rise in crime rates correlated to a drastic rise in incarceration rates. Between 1970 and 2005, the prison population grew by 700 percent. This rate outpaced crime and population rates, and it disproportionately targeted men of color. One in every 15 African American men and one in every 36 Hispanic men were incarcerated, compared to only one in ever 106 white men.

The incarceration rate of women increased over 800 percent between 1970 and 2005. African American women were three times more likely to be incarcerated than white women, and Hispanic women were 69 percent more likely than white women.

Prison populations began to stabilize in 2005 due to new policy and instruction for law enforcement officials. Similarly, the racial disparity has begun to stabilize. Strictly looking at the first decade of the 21st century, the incarceration rates for both black men and women declined but rose for both white men and women.

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