Saturday, December 26, 2009

Crime Really Does Hit the Low-income Groups Harder

Interesting review of home invasions in Indianapolis. Home invasions target the have-nots | The Indianapolis Star
But it isn't the big houses on North Meridian Street with lots of jewelry, antiques and electronics that are getting hit. Just the opposite. An Indianapolis Star analysis of crime data over the past 21/2 years found that the poorer the neighborhood, the more likely a home is to be the target of an armed break-in. And if a neighborhood is heavily Hispanic, home invasions are even more frequent.

"They aren't going into affluent neighborhoods and picking houses at random; we don't see that," said Robert Holt, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's North District commander. "Most of the time they know something about the person living there or what's inside."
I don't know if the more affluent areas are better protected or not - most people live behind 30 dollar locks that wouldn't keep out anyone determined to get in. But it is clear that in most cases, the bad guys are not hunting in the wealthy neighborhoods.
The Star studied 1,533 home invasions from January 2007 to June 2009 and tracked an additional 129 in the following five months. The largest concentration of home invasions occurred on the Near Northside, the Near Eastside and the Near Southside.

The analysis also showed that houses in which the average annual income is less than $33,000 were more than four times as likely to be robbed by armed intruders as households making more than $66,000. As the income of a neighborhood increases, home invasions decrease
Neither the FBI nor most other police departments keep track of this info, so it is impossible to say if Indianapolis is representative or not. But I would guess more departments are keeping this data - or at least the geographic info about the crime, so it might be possible for other news organizations to do a similar analysis.

This is important to understand because even as most violent crime is decreasing, home invasions have held steady or increased.

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