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American Indians and Crime

AMERICAN INDIANS AND CRIME

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 4:30 P.M. EST        BJS
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 1999          202/307-0784
         

    AMERICAN INDIANS ARE VIOLENT CRIME VICTIMS
   AT DOUBLE THE RATE OF THE GENERAL POPULATION
               
     WASHINGTON, D.C.--American Indians are the
victims of violent crimes at more than twice the
rate of all U.S. residents, the Justice
Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
announced today.

     In the Department's first comprehensive
statistical analysis of Indians and crime, BJS
reported that for the years 1992 through 1996 the
average annual rate of violent victimizations
among Indians (including Alaska Natives and
Aleuts) was 124 per 1,000 residents ages 12 years
old and older, compared to 61 violent
victimizations per 1,000 blacks, 49 per 1,000
whites and 29 per 1,000 Asians.

     There are about 2.3 million American Indian
residents of the United States, representing just
under 1 percent of the total population.

     BJS Director Jan Chaiken said: "The findings
reveal a disturbing picture of American Indian
involvement in crimes as victims and offenders. 
Both male and female American Indians experience
violent crime at higher rates than people of other
races and are more likely to experience
interracial violence."   

     For all four types of non-fatal violent
victimizations, American Indians experienced
higher than average annual rates of victimization
per 1,000 U.S. inhabitants 12 years old and older
during the period from 1992 through 1996:
           
                 American
                 Indians   Whites   Blacks  Asians

Rape/sexual 
  assaults          7        2          3      1
Robberies          12        5         13      7
Aggravated 
  assaults         35       10         16      6
Simple 
   assaults        70       32         30     15

     About 7 in 10 violent victimizations of
American Indians involved an offender who was
described by the victim as someone of a different
race--a substantially higher rate of interracial
violence than experienced by white or black
victims.  About half the violent victimizations
experienced by American Indians involve an
offender with whom the victim had a prior
relationship, about the same percentage as found
among other victims of violence.

     Each year about 150 American Indians are
murdered, which is about the per capita rate in
the general population.  For people between the
ages of 12 and 24 years old, the rate of Indians
murdered closely paralleled that of whites and
Asians and was well below that of blacks.

     The BJS study also reported that:

     --Offender use of alcohol was a major factor
in violent victimizations of American Indians. 
American Indian victims reported a drinking
offender in 46 percent of all violent 
victimizations, and about 70 percent of jailed
American Indians convicted of violence reported
that they had been drinking at the time of the
offense.

     --The arrest rate for alcohol-related
offenses among American Indians (drunken driving,
liquor law violations and public drunkenness) was
more than double that for the total population
during 1996.  However, the drug arrest rate was
lower than for other races.
         
     --Almost four in 10 American Indians held in
local jails had been charged with a public order
offense--most commonly driving while intoxicated. 
         
     --During 1996 the American Indian arrest rate
for youth violence was about the same as that for
white youths.
                  
     --On any given day an estimated one in 25
American Indians 18 years old and older is under
the jurisdiction of the nation's criminal justice
system.  This is 2.4 times the rate for whites and
9.3 times the per capita rate for Asians but about
half the rate for blacks.
         
     --The number of American Indians per capita
confined in state and federal prisons is about 38
percent above the national average.  However, the
rate of confinement in local jails is estimated to
be nearly 4 times the national average.

     BJS said its 1996 census of state and local
law enforcement agencies identified 135 tribal law
enforcement agencies, which had a total of 1,731
full-time sworn officers.  In addition, the U.S.
Bureau of Indian Affairs had 339 full-time
officers authorized to make arrests and carry
firearms.

     The special report, "American Indians and
Crime" (NCJ 173386), was written by BJS
statisticians Lawrence A. Greenfeld and Steven K.
Smith.  Single copies may be obtained 
from the BJS fax-on-demand system by dialing
301/519-5550, listening to the complete menu and
selecting document number 147. Or call the BJS
Clearinghouse number: 1-800-732-3277.  Fax orders
for mail delivery to 410/792-4358.  The BJS
Internet site is                         
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/

     Additional criminal justice materials can be
obtained from the Office of Justice Programs
homepage at                          
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov
         
                      # # # 
         
After hours contact: Stu Smith at 301/983-9354

(End of file)

Date Created: May 27, 2009