Calif. Leads on Making Crime Victims of Color Visible

Victims in high crime areas don't receive as much attention as perpetrators

By Carla Murphy Apr 14, 2014

Amidst today’s growing push for criminal justice and prison reform, victims living in high crime neighborhoods rarely get a mention. A small movement out of California aims to change that however by making working class and low-income victims of color visible. Californians for Safety and Justice have expanded on last year’s first-ever survey of crime victims with a new (though, small) report looking at what may be a common but invisible experience in high-crime neighborhoods: repeat victimization.

Fully two-thirds of 500 people surveyed last year described having been victims of multiple violent crimes within the past five years alone. These victims are more likely to be low income, young (under 30) and black or Latino.

"Untold Stories" describes victims’ experiences with police (not good; not only in California) and other first responders (better). It finds limited to no assistance accessed or offered, particularly among low-income persons surviving multiple victimizations (i.e. assault, shootings, physical and sexual violence, etc) and suggests a kind of "walking wounded" phenomenon in high poverty, high crime neighborhoods.

More quantitative and qualitative research is needed, the report says. There’s just not that much out there on crime victims as compared to research on criminals and crime.