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Reporting Victimization to the Police: the Role of Racial Dyad and Bias Motivation

NCJ Number
Policing and Society Dated: 2018 Pages: 1-17
Date Published
17 pages
Using data from the National Crime Victimization Survey, this study extends the literature on crime-victimization reporting decisions by assessing whether the relationship between victim race, as well as different offender-victim racial dyads, varies by type of crime (hate crime v. non-hate crime); and among incidents that are not reported to the police, the study examined the importance of attitudes toward police.

Multiple theoretical perspectives suggest that racial minorities may be less likely to report victimization to law enforcement. Likewise, the literature on racially motivated offenses highlights the importance of the victim's race in whether the crime is reported. Although both bodies of literature suggest that perception of racial bias may be a particularly salient factor in decisions to not report criminal victimization, they have been largely divorced from one another. The results of the current study indicate that crimes against White victims were more likely to be reported if they were not motivated by racial animus, and non-hate crimes were more likely to be reported when the offender was Black. Perception of police bias was not a strong factor in the non-reporting of crimes. Implications of the research and directions for future investigation are discussed. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2018