The Disabled and Vulnerable Groups Have Higher Rates of Violent Crime

Summary

The rate of serious violent crime for persons with disabilities was more than three times the rate for persons without disabilities.

People perceived as “vulnerable” are victimized more.

Author

Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr.

Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Services, National Crime Prevention Council. Post-Masters’ Certificate of Advanced Study-Johns Hopkins University

Observations

People perceived as “vulnerable” are victimized more. This applies to mixed-race couples (well documented by the literature), the LGBT community, the elderly as it pertains to fraud or burglary, immigrants, victims of abuse (i.e., human trafficking), repeat victims of violent crime, and many others.

Per the research below, it also applies to the disabled.

It’s up to us in the law enforcement and corrections community to understand the uniqueness of “at risk” groups, and work with them to understand their concerns and vulnerabilities.

For example, in 2010, the 17 percent of violent crime victims who experienced repeat victimization accounted for 54 percent of all violent victimizations, Crime in America-US Crime Rates.

While law enforcement and corrections are already understaffed and overworked, if we are to prevent crime, we need to be aware of the data as it applies to groups and work with them to understand their unique issues and prevention methodologies.

New Report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics

The rate of violent victimization against persons with disabilities (29.5 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older) was 2.5 times higher than the rate for persons without disabilities (11.8 per 1,000) in 2015.

Each year from 2009 to 2015, the rate of violent victimization against persons with disabilities was at least twice the age-adjusted rate for persons without disabilities.

One in 5 disabled violent crime victims believed they were targeted because of their disability.

Defining disabilities The Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey defines a disability as the product of interactions among an individual’s body—including their physical, emotional, and mental health—and the physical and social environment in which they live, work, or play.

A disability exists when this interaction results in limitations of activities and with restrictions to full participation at school, work, home, or in the community.

Disabilities are classified according to six limitations: ƒ hearing (deafness or serious difficulty hearing) ƒ vision (blindness or serious difficulty seeing, even when wearing glasses) ƒ cognitive (serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition) ƒ ambulatory (difficulty walking or climbing stairs) ƒ self-care (a condition that causes difficulty dressing or bathing) ƒ independent living (physical, mental, or emotional condition that impedes doing errands alone, such as visiting a doctor or shopping).

About the crimes

The rate of serious violent crime (rape or sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault) for persons with disabilities (12.7 per 1,000) was more than three times the rate for persons without disabilities (4.0 per 1,000).

Overall, a higher percentage of violence against persons with disabilities (40%) was committed by persons the victims knew well or who were casual acquaintances than against persons without disabilities (32%).

While there was no statistically significant difference in the percentages of violent crime reported to police for victims with (49%) and without (46%) disabilities during 2011-15, a greater percentage of victims with disabilities (12%) received assistance from a nonpolice victim service agency than victims without disabilities (8%).

About the victims

During 2011-15, persons with cognitive disabilities had the highest victimization rate among the disability types measured for total violent crime (57.9 per 1,000 persons age 12 or older with disabilities), serious violent crime (22.3 per 1,000), and simple assault (35.6 per 1,000).

Persons with hearing disabilities (15.7 per 1,000) had the lowest rate of total violent victimization among the disability types examined during this period.

The rate of serious violent crime against persons with a single disability type (11.4 per 1,000) was less than the rate for persons with multiple disability types (14.1 per 1,000). Similarly, the rate of rape or sexual assault against persons with a single disability type (1.4 per 1,000) was lower than the rate for those with multiple disability types 2.8 per 1,000).

Source

Bureau of Justice Statistics-Disability

Contacts

Crime in America at http://crimeinamerica.net

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