How Prevalent are the Crime Rates of Asian Americans?

Assessing the crime rate of Asian Americans

Submitted by Dr. Lincoln B. Sloas

In May, we celebrate Asian Heritage Month. In this issue, I take time to discuss the crime rate of Asian Americans. Specifically, I dissect the often “other” category of racial groups. This will allow me to delve further into how much crime Asian Americans are responsible for. It is here we now turn.

Often, crime data typically categorizes racial groups as White, Black, Hispanic, and Other. Additionally, Black and Hispanic groups are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. For example, the first table shows the percentage of the U.S. population (in blue) juxtaposed to the percentage of inmates in federal and state run facilities (in yellow). As can be seen in the table, each race, besides white, is disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system.

When examining the “other” category more closely, Asian juveniles do not commit crime disproportionately compared to Blacks and Hispanics. This is shown in the second table below.

Finally, when distinguishing by types of Asians, Chinese have slightly higher involvement in the criminal justice system. This is not disproportionate to the general U.S. population of Asians. Samoans are the only group where there is a disproportionate number of Asians involved in the criminal justice systems compared to the U.S. population of Samoans. This is shown in the final table.

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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