Blacks, a racial minority in America, are disproportionately represented among both violent crime offenders and victims. For example, while Blacks constituted 12 percent of the U.S. population in 1993, in that same year they represented 58 percent of persons arrested for
murder, 41 percent arrested for rape, 62 percent arrested for robbery, and 40 percent arrested
for aggravated assault (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1994, p. 235). Arrest data also indicate
that violent crime, especially murders, involve intraracial victim–offender relationship patterns.
For example, in 1993, 94 percent of Black murder victims were killed by Black offenders and
84 percent of White murder victims were killed by White offenders (Department of Justice
[DOJ], 1993, p. 17).
In addition, violent crime is typically perpetrated by young males. The Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) reports that in 1993, males were disproportionately represented among
persons arrested for murder (91 percent), and aggravated assault (90 percent). Recent reviews
of findings regarding persons arrested for murder clearly indicate that fatal criminal violence
tends to involve young males. For example, in 1993, 77 percent of persons arrested for
murder were between the ages 15 and 34. Regarding the modal age range of murder victims,
the FBI reports that in 1993, 48 percent were aged 20 through 34 years (DOJ, 1993, p.
Mortality data compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics are another major source
of data that describe the prevalence of violence among Blacks. In the most recent statistics
available, the National Center for Health Statistics reports that in 1991, death rates for homicide
were eight times as high for Black males (72.5 per 100,000) as for White males (9.4 per
100,000) and nearly five times as high for Black females (13.9 per 100,000) as for White
females (3.0 per 100,000) (1994)
Structural pressures in and of themselves are not enough to explain the...