Statistical trends of the ethnicity of both offender and victims of crime in the U.S. are gathered, calculated and published on an annual basis by the FBI and Bureau of Justice Statistics. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) analyzes information provided by law enforcement agencies from across the country, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics publishes the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), providing information about both reported and non-reported crimes.
Ethnicity of Offender
According the FBI, there were a total of 15,760 murders committed in the U.S. Of these murders, 5,890 were committed by black offenders, and 5,286 were committed by white offenders. However, 4,339 were offenders of unknown race, and 245 were committed by offenders who were neither black nor white.
Interestingly, there is more disparity between the numbers of black vs. white offenders of personal crimes of violence reported in the 2008 NCVS. These crimes of violence include rape/sexual assault, robbery and aggravated or simple assault. This report states that 58.4 percent of offenders were white, 22.8 percent were black, 6.7 percent were another race, and 12.1 percent were unknown.
Furthermore, when compared to the race of the victim, the NCVS shows that white offenders more often attacked white victims, and black offenders more often attacked black victims. This was true except in the case of completed robberies where property was taken without injury; 53.8 percent of cases involving a black offender concerned a black victim, and 46 percent of these cases concerned a white victim. In addition, in cases of black offenders attempting to take property resulting in injury, 66.7 percent of cases were against a white victim and only 36.7 percent of cases involved a black victim.
Ethnicity of Victim
The FBI’s UCR states that in 2009, there were 13,636 murder victims reported to or known by law enforcement agencies. Of these victims, 6,568 were white, 6,556 were black, 360 were of another race, and 152 were of an unknown race.
The NCVS gathered victim data regarding personal crimes including the following:
- Attempted/Threatened Violence
- Rape/Sexual Assault
- Purse Snatching
Expressed as a rate per 1,000 persons age 12 or older, the highest rate of victimization was among bi-racial ethnicities or victims claiming more than two races, at 52.4. Black victims were recorded at a rate of 26.6, white victims at 18.6, and other races at 15.5. It was also found that all classes of victims were most likely to suffer from crimes of assault and attempted/threatened violence.
Further data from the NCVS for multiple-offender crimes states that 33.3 percent of these violent crimes overall are committed by multiple white offenders, 29.5 percent by black offenders, and 18.2 percent by unknown races. More specifically, 47.6 percent of rape/sexual assault crimes were committed or attempted by multiple white offenders, 62.2 percent of robberies without injury were committed by black offenders, and 51.2 percent of attempted robberies with injury were committed by offenders of unknown race.