Latino Populations and Crime in America

These statistics provide a look at how crime affects Latino populations in the United States.

| January 2015

  • Latino Populations
    Currently, many members of Latino populations who live near crime and drugs feel that the law does a good job of protecting them and treats them fairly.
    Photo by Fotolia/Andres Rodriguez
  • Latino Stats
    “Latino Stats,” by Idelisse Malavé and Esti Giordani, catalogs the inequities that face Latino communities and documents Latinos growing power and influence on American life.
    Cover courtesy The New Press

  • Latino Populations
  • Latino Stats

Latinos are the largest and fastest growing group of ethnic minorites in the country, yet many still continue to fight for their status as Americans. Latino Stats (The New Press, 2015), by Idelisse Malavé and Esti Giordani, cuts through the rhetoric and highlights the reality and spectrum of Latino life in the United States.This excerpt, from the section “Criminal Justice,” provides statistics on how Latino populations are affected by crime in America.

Nearly half of convicted federal offenders are Latinos. With so many Latinos in the criminal justice system, it is astonishing that the FBI, the agency responsible for national crime statistics, has not collected data over the years by ethnicity. Without that data, it is difficult to determine the full impact of the criminal justice system on the 53 million Latinos living in this country. Recently, in the face of criticism, the FBI announced that it would begin reporting on ethnicity in its annual Uniform Crime Report. Even with existing threads of data, it is clear that Latinos, particularly Latino men, are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, funneled out of their communities and over borders, and separated from their families. Surprisingly, Latino communities, living within walking distance of crime and drugs, and with residents frequently stopped and questioned by local and federal law enforcement, still have confidence in this justice system. Many Latinos believe that law enforcement officers actually do a good job of protecting them and that the courts treat them fairly. As more and more data surfaces, will their confidence erode?

In states with large Latino populations, Latinos have disproportionately high arrest rates. Latinos are much more likely than White Americans to get arrested and account for a disproportionate share of all felony and misdemeanor arrests. Latino children are arrested at alarming rates in states such as Texas and California.

Many Latinos live in neighborhoods where they feel unsafe. With high rates of gang participation and with homicide as a leading cause of death, more than one in three Latinos report that they live within a mile of areas that they are scared to walk in at night. Yet Latinos report being victims of violent crime and property crime, such as burglary, at lower rates.

Latinos are surprisingly confident in the criminal justice system. Despite being stopped and questioned by the police with inflated frequency, high incarceration rates, and minimal representation in law enforcement and the legal professions, many Latinos still feel that their local police do a good job enforcing the law and that U.S. courts treat Latinos fairly.

Latino men are much more likely than White men, but only half as likely as Black men, to serve time in prison. Latino boys also face high levels of incarceration, particularly in states with large Latino populations. California and Texas alone imprison the majority of incarcerated Latino youth in the United States.

7/26/2016 9:26:05 AM

Where did you get ur info? Lol, cause this is nonsense. I live in California and a Vast Majority of mexican immigrants are gang members, drug dealers, human traffickers, and/or Sinaloa and other Cartel members. You're trying to make it out like they’re victims and don't feel safe which is complete fiction. I'm not Mexican, but I am hispanic and I thinl it's ridiculous when I see agenda-pushing lies like this.

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