ethnicity and crime


official stats

3 main sources:

1. official stats - blacks are 10x more likely than whites to be stopped and searched and 5x more likely to be in prison

2. victim surveys - black people are significantly more likely to be identified as offenders - victim surveys show a lot of crime is inter-ethnic - black on black

problems with victim surveys:

  • rely on victims memory of events
  • only cover personal crime
  • excludes under 16s

3. self report studies - ask individuals to disclose crimes they have committed - graham and bowling found that blacks and whites had almost identical rates of offending 

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ethnic minorities overrepresented in crime stats

1. neo marxist explan.

paul gilroy - black criminality = a myth created by racist stereotypes

  • EM = form of political resistance to inequality, racism in white culture, police typifications, harrassment and oppression
  • denies there is greater criminality among black people than whites


  • lea and young - most criminals are inter racial 

2. left realist explan.

lea and young - EM at a disadvantage compared to other groups

  • youths have much higher levels of unemployment because they are marginalised and alienated from society
  • join gang culture culture to recieve peer group support


  • stereotypes are a social construct and change over time
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