I'm not sure that this question is on topic here, but I guessed that I would have a better chance of getting a good answer here than at Economics SE (and Sociology SE doesn't exist).

I've seen a few articles (for example, this and this) arguing that "Black-on-Black crime" is no more notable than "White-on-White crime". I've been trying to quantify this. The graph below from the US Department of Justice supports this argument, showing that when only people below the poverty line are considered, there is little difference between the rate at which Black people are victimized by violent crime and the rate at which White people are victimized. However, I'd like to see a similar plot not for victims, but for perpetrators. Do the race and economic status of perpetrators of violent crimes follow the same trends? I realize that there are also racial disparities in policing of crimes, which might bias the results, but I'd still like to see the data. Is there a reason that it doesn't exist (the race or economic status of the perpetrator is often unknown)?

To clarify, I know that that the rate is higher for Black-on-Black murders versus White-on-White murders when economic status is not considered as a variable, but my question is: How do crime rates compare between Black and White populations of similar economic status, particularly for those below the poverty line?

Rate of violent victimization by poverty level and race

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    I'd expect the statistics on perpetrators to be less available or reliable than victim information. You know who the victim is. The perpetrator might never be caught, or might not be caught for months or years. Once arrested, if they got the wrong person, it might be months or years more for the verdict, so how you go back and correct? If the verdict is wrong, and the person isn't exonerated for years, that's probably more of a statistical blip, but, again, retro-fitting the perpetrator numbers seems like it's more likely to be messy. Probably best bet is "arrest" numbers. Jul 9, 2020 at 16:46
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    Also, they're not taking tax return info on police reports, so the closest one can get is for general economic demographics for areas. But I know it's been done by sociologists (we talked about this, specifically, in my criminal justice college course back in the late 1980s). I'll do some digging if an offered answer doesn't already find it. Jul 9, 2020 at 16:47

1 Answer 1


Does this answer the question?

The overall pattern of poor persons having the highest rates of violent victimization was consistent for both whites and blacks. However, the rate of violent victimization for Hispanics did not vary across poverty levels.

Poor urban blacks (51.3 per 1,000) had rates of violence similar to poor urban whites (56.4 per 1,000).

Poor Hispanics (25.3 per 1,000) had lower rates of violence compared to poor whites (46.4 per 1,000) and poor blacks (43.4 per 1,000).

Source: Household Poverty and Nonfatal Violent Victimization, 2008-2012 (Bureau of Justice Statistics)

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    I'm aware of data for victimization, but information on perpetrators would be better. Jul 9, 2020 at 16:18
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    @WaterMolecule It should be similar, given that most crimes occur in the perpetrator's own community.
    – Ryan_L
    Jul 10, 2020 at 21:19

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