Ethnicity and Crime

Ethnicity and Crime

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  • Created by: Natalie
  • Created on: 21-01-12 17:47


Official Statistics - According to the Home Office statistics, Black people are over three times more likely than white people to be arrested. Offenders are most likely to be young males aged between 14 and 25 so any ethnic group that has a high proportion of people in this age group will have relatively high offending rates, which is true the British Black population. The more economically disadvantaged a particular social group is, the higher the crime rates and young Black British youths tend to be in worse paid jobs and are more likely to be unemployed than White or Asian groups. Official statistics tell us the number of people arrested by the police but may not really reflect offending rates as they could just be showing the actions of the police (which could be racist)

Victim Studies - Victim studies ask victims of crime for their recollection of the ethnicity of the offender. The BCS found that the majority of crime is intraracial (within the same ethnic group). Asking victims for a description of who commited the crime has problems as only 20% of crimes are personal crimes where the victim might have seen the offender. Victims can be influenced by racial stereotypes.

Self-report studies - This anonymous questionnaire found that for 14 to 25 year old, the self-reported offending rates were more or less the same for the White, Black and Asian respondents.

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After arrest Afro-Caribbeans are slightly more likely to be held in custody and charged with more serious offences than Whites. However Afro-Caribbeans are more likely than average to plead and be found not guilty. If found guilty they are more likely to recieve harsher sentences (a 17% higher change of imprisonment than Whites)

Asians are also more likely than average to plead not guilty, but are more likely than average to be found guilty. They have an 18% lesser chance of being prisoned.

Sociologists are divided as to whether these statistics mean that members of ethnic-minority groups are discriminated against.

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Black British Prisoners form about 19% of the total prison population, this is 7 times higher than would be expected in terms of their presence in the population.


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Racist Police Practices?

Some believe that there are some individuals in the police who are racist, and once these individuals have been rooted out, the police force will not show racism.

Canteen culture - Argues that police officers have developed culture that helps them deal with the pressures that they face from dealing with the public. Characteristics of this culture include a thirst for action, cynicism, conservatism, suspision, macho values and racism.

Holdaway found that police officers had racist views, for example, they had stereotypical views on the criminality of Afro-Caribbean youths which led to them stopping and searching Afro-Caribbean youths more than any other group.

Macpherson found that the police where characterised by institutionalised racism.

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