- The Washington Times - Monday, March 19, 2001

The rate people were victimized by violent crime including rape, assault and robbery significantly declined between 1993 and 1998, according to a study released yesterday by the Justice Department.

Compiled by the department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, the study said victimization rates among whites decreased by 29 percent during that five-year period, 38 percent for blacks and 45 percent among Hispanics. The 1993 to 1998 numbers are the latest available.

According to the study, declines in violent victimizations among American Indians and Asians were not statistically significant, but it noted that the rate of violence among American Indians between 1993 and 1998 meant that they remained the most victimized by violence.

The department said that while American Indians accounted for about half of 1 percent of the U.S. population, they represented 1.3 percent of all violent-crime victims.

Violent crimes against whites and blacks were committed primarily by members of the victims' own race, the study said. Sixty-six percent of white victims and 76 percent of black victims said their attacker was of the same race, the study said.

American Indians and Asians, however, were most often victimized by an offender of a different race.

According to the report, American Indians were victims of violent crime at more than twice the rate of blacks, whites or Asians during 1998, when they experienced 110 violent victimizations per 1,000 American Indians age 12 or older, compared with 43 victimizations per 1,000 blacks, 38 per 1,000 whites and 22 per 1,000 Asians.

The study also showed that blacks were murdered at far higher rates than other U.S. residents. During 1998, the study said 23 blacks were murdered compared with four whites and three victims of other races per 100,000 persons of each racial group.

On average each year between 1993 and 1998, the study said, the homicide rate fell five percent for whites, seven percent for blacks and eight percent for other races. The study noted that in 1993, there were 12,435 black homicide victims and 11,278 white victims of homicide; in 1998, there were 7,903 black victims of homicide and 8,539 white victims.

According to the study, offenders had a firearm in a higher percentage of crimes against black victims (18 percent) and Asian victims (14 percent), compared with white victims (8 percent) and American Indians (9 percent). Americans Indians (35 percent) and black victims (29 percent) were more likely to report being attacked during a crime than whites (24 percent) and Asians (23 percent).

The report represents interviews by the Bureau of Justice Statistics of 574,000 persons age 12 and older in 293,000 U.S. households.

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