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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Is the Bureau of Justice Statistics Finally Going to Reform Its Practices?

By Nicholas Stix

For years, the federal agency that is the biggest source for crime statistics for researchers like yours truly, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, has engaged in mischief, in order to exaggerate the number and proportion of white criminals, and eliminate Hispanic criminals (but not Hispanic victims, which are listed as such!). Thus, while whites are listed as assailants in crimes victimizing Hispanics, Hispanics are not listed as assailants in crimes victimizing whites. But Hispanic crime victims are listed as Hispanics, leading to the situation in which Hispanic-on-Hispanic crime is misleadingly listed as white-on-Hispanic crime.

Well, that may be about to change.

An informant passed along the following letter, from which I have deleted all information identifying the writer and recipient.

Thank you for contacting the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
With regard to your question, the perceived race of offender question on the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) is currently designed to ask the victim about the offender’s race. The current perceived race of offender question includes white, black, other (specify), and don’t know as response options. Ethnicity (Hispanic origin) is not asked separately. Research has shown that typically Hispanics are captured in the white response category; however, Hispanics may be included in any of the categories.

Currently, changes are being implemented to edit the perceived race of offender questions on the NCVS. These changes will be implemented in January of 2012. The new perceived race and ethnicity of offender questions will mirror the victim race and ethnicity questions. The victim will be asked if the offender was Hispanic or Latino as a separate question. The victim will also be asked about what the race of the offender was. These categories will be expanded to include white, black, American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Island, other, and don’t know.

I hope that this helps answer your question. Please let me know of additional questions.

Thank you….

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