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Race, Ethnicity and Reporting

Early theories suggested that African Americans were less likely than Whites to report crimes because
they held more negative attitudes toward police and did not trust the criminal justice system, preferring to
handle their problems on their own. Recent research, however, has resulted in conflicting findings. Some
studies continue to support the idea that African Americans and Latinos are less likely to report crimes
than Whites, and provide plausible explanations for why this may be true (Maier, 2008). On the other
hand, The National Crime Victimization Survey�s study of victimization rates between 2001 and 2005
found that 54.7% of violent crimes against African Americans were reported to police, as compared with

47.7% of violent crimes against White Americans (Harrell, 2007).

Some research suggests that reporting behavior varies by type of crime. For example, Latinos may be
less likely to report serious assaults than other groups, but more likely to report simple assaults
(Rennison, 2010, cited in Zaykowski, 2010). A study of victims of intimate partner violence found that
women of color were more likely than White women to call the police after an assault (Akers & Kaukinen,


The differences in reporting behavior by type of crime vary among different cultures and ethnicities in the
US, including immigrant communities. For example, some groups may be reluctant to report abuse crimes

because it brings shame to the family (Davis, 2013).

In this Discussion, you analyze why certain ethnic or immigrant groups may be reluctant to report
victimization, and identify possible strategies that might reduce this reluctance.
African Americans have had a rough time with the police due to the belief that the police are
unfair in dealing with them. In this regard, the African Americans are less likely to report to the

police since they believe that their issues won’t be taken seriously. However, recent research has
painted a new picture by asserting that African Americas and Latinos are more likely to report
crimes to the police than their white counterparts (Maclin, 1998). Other studies also suggest that
differences in reporting vary with the nature of the crime and this is evident in women of color,
who are likely to call the police than their white counterparts after the assault.
The minorities are the race that is likely to view law enforcement with high suspicion as
compared to the whites; since, they complain of being singled out by the police due to their
ethnicity background. In judging policy in a democratic society the public perception about the
lawfulness and legitimacy of law enforcement should be considered highly. Legitimacy should
be linked to the willingness to recognize the police authority and to how the public view the
police in whole with the ethnicity perception of the police being kept aside. This should be
highly put into consideration because; without the legitimacy put in place the ability and
authority of the police to work effectively will definitely be undermined (Dunn, 2010)..
However, less consideration will lead to the police being distracted in their places of work and
they will not be able to give out the best as required. The whites are best in esteeming the police
higher compared to the minorities and this becomes a problem to the police who are not given
the power and the authority to do their job as required. This has contributed to crime in the
neighborhood that has been as a result of ethnicity that is employed by the government through
the police.
Most of the reporting activities between the police and the blacks and latinos results from
the bad perception that arise between the two functions. An outreach program can be carried out
to determine how enforcement might promote reporting of victimization among the ethnic or
immigrant populations to the police. The police department should appoint bilingual police

offers in affected areas to help support communication among the blacks and the police officers
and to enhance reporting of crimes to the police. The police department should create special
outreach teams of officers that will enhance communication and the possibility of reporting
various issues to the police (Jaeger & Vitalis, 2005). Moreover, the police should hold frequent
meetings with the local community to enhance good relationship between the two functions to
enable members to begin reporting their issues with less stress. In addition, the police should
encourage the recruitment of more blacks and Latinos into their teams so that such groups also
feel part of the team of law enforces as this will enhance reporting of cases to the police. The
police should also provide direct social services such as thanksgiving to the community as this
will encourage good relationship between the two groups as the bad relationship between these
two groups is what result into low reporting rates of the crimes.


Dunn, R. A. (2010). Race and the relevance of citizen complaints against the police.
Administrative Theory & Praxis, 32(4), 557-577

Jaeger, S., & Vitalis, T. (2005). Ethnic diversity in the New Zealand police: Staff perspectives.
Equal Opportunities International, 24(1), 14-26

Maclin, T. (1998). Race and the fourth amendment. Vanderbilt Law Review, 51(2), 333-393.

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