Does Crime Plague the Native Population?

Does Crime Plague the American Indian Population?

Submitted by: Dr. Lincoln Sloas

Building off last month’s entry, we discovered that Hispanics are less likely to be imprisoned compared to whites and blacks. In this month’s entry, we will explore crime rates amongst another all too often forgotten group…#AmericanIndians. Since November is designated as #AmericanIndianHeritageMonth, an assessment of their crime data is warranted.

When assessing violent victimization among the Indigenous community , the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that they have a per capita rate of violence twice that of the U.S. resident population. Additionally, on average, Natives experience 1 violent crime for every 10 residents age 12 or older.

When further breaking down these numbers into age categories for #NativeAmericans we see the following. The violent crime rate in every age group below age 35 was higher for the Indigenous population than for all persons. Also, among Natives, age 25 to 34, the rate of violent crime victimization's was more than 2.5 times the rate for all persons of the same age.

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When assessing the gender of Natives, interesting patterns emerge. For example, the rate of violent victimization for both males and females were higher for Natives than for all races. Indigenous females were less likely to be victims compared to males. Finally, the rate of violent victimization among Native was women was more than double that among all women.

Lastly, alcohol consumption has been something that quite often plagues the Indigenous community. For example, Native victims of violence were more likely than all victims to report an offender who was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crime. Overall, about 62% of Natives victims experienced violence by an offender using alcohol compared to 42% for the national average.

Overall, from a criminological standpoint, Natives tend to have higher rates of victimization and substance abuse compared to other races. The question remains…why is this the case? Thoughts? Comment below.

Lincoln B. Sloas, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University. His research interests include community corrections with an emphasis on how individuals navigate substance use treatment services and problem-solving courts.

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