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Violent crime 'race gap' narrows, but persists in US
Date:3/8/2010

COLLEGE PARK, Md. The U.S. 'race gap' in the commission of violent crime has narrowed substantially, yet persists in many cities with murder arrest rates for African Americans out-distancing those for whites concludes a new 80-city study by the University of Maryland, Florida State University and the University of Oregon.

While the gap had been cut by more than half in the 1970s, it grew again in the '80s with the advent of crack cocaine. The researchers find the gap most pronounced in communities with higher rates of divorce, unemployment and illegal drug use.

The report appears in the current issue of the American Sociological Review (February 2010).

See Crime Gap Figures for 80 U.S. Cities: http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/sociss/2010/lafreestat.cfm

"It's somewhat discouraging to see how resilient these racial differences in violent crime rates have been," says the report's corresponding author Gary LaFree, a University of Maryland criminologist who specializes in crime and political violence trends. http://www.ccjs.umd.edu/Faculty/faculty.asp?p=26

In the 1960s, the gap had grown "exceptionally high," he says. For example, the 1968 National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders found low income, black Chicago neighborhoods had 35 times more serious crime than upper income, white areas of the city. The Commission warned that racial disparities and racial isolation fostered this gap.

"A lot happened in 40 years that helped diminish racial distinctions in America, including this gap in violent crimes, yet it seems safe to conclude the gap won't disappear any time soon," LaFree adds.

STUDY FINDINGS: RACIAL GAP TRENDS

Based on Uniform Crime Report arrest data from 1960 to 2000 in 80 of the largest U.S. cities (listed below), the researchers found:'/>"/>

Contact: Neil Tickner
ntickner@umd.edu
301-405-4622
University of Maryland
Source:Eurekalert  

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