High-risk racial and ethnic groups - Blacks and Hispanics, 1970 to 1983
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High-risk racial and ethnic groups - Blacks and Hispanics, 1970 to 1983

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      In September 1983, the first Homicide Surveillance Report was published detailing national homicide mortality statistics in terms of the impact of homicide as a public health problem. In that report, and in previous sociologic and criminologic research, it was noted that blacks and other minorities were at much higher risk of death from homicide than whites. This report is an extension of that first surveillance report, analyzing in detail the rates and patterns of homicide among blacks and other minorities and comparing these rates and patterns with those of the majority white population. It should be noted at the outset that racial status perse may have little to do with an individuals’s risk of homicide. Rather, it appears from past research that racial status may simply be associated with other factors—such as socioeconomic status—that do influence the risk of homicide. Unfortunately, information on socioeconomic status is not available from the national mortality data bases on which this report is based. A high priority for future research will be more precise identification of those factors associated with racial status that increase the risk of homicide.

      Homicide is frequently thought of as a criminal justice problem, and the term “homicide” in that context connotes the commission of a criminal act. In this report, however, homicide is considered as a cause of death, and thus the term “homicide” here refers to victimization and not perpetration. Pertinent data on assailants as they related to homicide victims is presented, but for the most part the information in this report concerns homicide victims. Ultimately, of course, a comprehensive public health approach to homicide prevention must consider risk factors for both homicide perpetration and homicide victimization.

      Work on this report was begun under the auspices of the Center for Health Promotion and Education (Dennis D. Tolsma, M.P.H., Director) in what was then the Violence Epidemiology Branch.

      SUGGESTED CITATION: Centers for Disease Control, Homicide Surveillance: High-Risk Racial and Ethnic Groups—Blacks and Hispanics, 1970 to 1983. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control, 1986 November.

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