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Demographics cloud optimism on black violent crime decrease
Date:3/28/2011

rates are lower today for blacks, as they also are for other race groupings, but the black percentage of violent crime is about the same today as in 1980," Steffensmeier said.

According to Steffensmeier, studies that purport to show declines in black violent crimes may also rely on timelines that are too short to be effective. For instance, studies that start in the late 1980s and 1990s cover a period of rapid increase in black violent crime fueled by crack cocaine use in the inner cities. According to Steffensmeier, the recent decrease is more likely a return to average crime rates.

"A study that uses statistics from a short time period can lead to a regression to the mean effect," said Steffensmeier. "Which basically means, when a trend rises quickly, it can fall just as quickly."

Some researchers have suggested that the improving trend in black violent crime indicates that African-Americans are experiencing better social standing in the U.S. Steffensmeier said that black progress may not be as pronounced or as broad.

"There may be a growing affluent black middle class, but at the same time, the black underclass appears to have become even more disenfranchised and more segregated from the rest of society," said Steffensmeier.


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Contact: Matt Swayne
mls29@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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