NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

American Indians Are Victimized By Violence

February 25, 1999

More than any other racial or ethnic group, American Indians are more likely to be the victims of violence, according to new statistics from the U.S. Justice Department. An Indian is more likely than a member of other groups to be the victim of a murder, assault, robbery or rape.

  • Between 1992 and 1996, the rate of victimization for Indians over 12 years of age was 124 per 1,000 persons -- twice the rate for blacks and two-and-one-half times the national average.
  • Some 70 percent of violent crimes against Indians are committed by an offender of a different race -- usually a white.
  • By contrast, only 19 percent of crimes against blacks and 31 percent of crimes against whites are interracial.
  • According to 1995 data, there is one substantial report of child abuse for every 30 American Indian children -- while the national average is one in 58.

Indians are not only crime victims, they also perpetrate crimes at a greater rate. On any given day, roughly one in 25 American Indians over age 18 is in jail, on parole or on probation. That is twice the rate for whites -- though it is far lower than the one-in-ten rate for blacks.

Arrests of Indians for alcohol-associated violations are more than double the national rate.

The Justice Department study offered no clues or analysis of the Indians' plight.

Source: "The Red Man's Burden," Economist, February 20, 1999.


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