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Is Violent Crime Intraracial?

NCJ Number
Crime and Delinquency Volume: 31 Issue: 1 Dated: (January 1985) Pages: 117-128
W Wilbanks
Date Published
12 pages
This article examines victims' perceptions of the race of the offender and considers the racial characteristics of offenders (apprehended and not apprehended), along with the race of the reporting victim.
Data from the 1981 national victimization survey reveal that more whites are victimized by whites (77 percent) than by blacks (17.1 percent), and more blacks are victimized by blacks (77 percent) than by whites (14.4 percent). Although violent crime by white offenders is apparently strongly intraracial, in that 96.9 percent of the white offenders chose white victims, violent crime by black offenders is apparently predominantly interracial, with 55.2 percent of the black offenders choosing white victims. Black offenders chose white victims in 63.9 percent of robberies, 51.8 percent of assaults, and 58.6 percent of rapes. In contrast, white offenders chose black victims in 8.3 percent of robberies, 2.7 percent of assaults, and 5.5 percent of rapes. These percentages suggest that each of the three violent crimes is strongly intraracial for white offenders but predominantly interracial for black offenders. This finding suggests that the motives behind black assault and rape are different than the motives behind white assault and rape. Reasons why the partially interracial character of violent crime has not been addressed are suggested. Five tables and 35 reference are included.