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Economic Bad Times Put Minorities at Higher Crime Risk

Blacks, Latinos more often victimized as recessions occur, study shows

MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- When the economy goes sour, certain minority groups suffer at the hands of criminals more than others, a new study finds.

National crime statistics from 1973 to 2005 show an increase in violent, non-lethal crime against blacks and Latinos during and after periods of recession, according to research that was scheduled for presentation Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in Chicago.

"Minorities experience substantially higher rates of violent victimization than non-Latino whites in the United States," researcher Karen Heimer, a University of Iowa sociology professor, said in a news release issued by her school. "Our study shows that the higher rates of poverty, urban residence and differential age distributions of non-Latino blacks and Latinos help to explain these groups' higher victimization rates."

By knowing this trend, law enforcement officials, criminal justice policy-makers and those who offer help and services to victims can better prepare against fluctuations in crime during the current recession, said Heimer, who worked on the study with Janet Lauritsen, a professor in the criminology and criminal justice department of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

More information

The National Center for Victims of Crime has more about support for those crime victims.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: University of Iowa, news release, Feb. 15, 2009

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