November 3, 2003 Vol. VIII, No. 6



Study Reveals Mixed Message on Latino Public Safety

Center for Southern California Studies Issues 'C' Grade on Safety for United Way 'Latino Scorecard'

The message is mixed when it comes to safety and Latinos, according to a study by a team of researchers at Cal State Northridge's Center for Southern California Studies.

In the study, conducted for a new United Way of Greater Los Angeles report called "Latino Scorecard 2003: Grading the American Dream," center researchers revealed scant evidence that property or hate crimes are causing a serious problem for Latinos in the Los Angeles community.

Violent crimes are another matter.

"With respect to the most serious crimes, including homicides and aggravated assaults, Latinos are over-represented as victims and arrestees," said center director Martin Saiz.

After evaluating how Latinos in the area fared in five key areas—health, education, economic development, housing and public safety—the United Way report announced a series of "grades" for Los Angeles, along with recommendations for improvement.

Using comprehensive data from regional law enforcement and the Los Angeles County Probation Department, center researchers issued a public safety grade of "C."

Latinos are "woefully underrepresented" among police officers in the Los Angeles area, researchers found, noting that the inequity hampers programs designed to foster positive relationships between the police and the Latino community.

Little evidence was found supporting property or hate crimes as serious problems in the Latino community. "However," said Amalie Orme, the center's director of research, "there is a fear that reporting such incidents will require revelations of residency or citizenship status."

Orme said the study provides a baseline to measure, in two to five years, how well the community and law enforcement handle issues raised in the report.

"Latino Scorecard 2003" issued a "C" grade in health, a "D" in education, a "C" in economic development, and a "D" in housing.

The Center for Southern California Studies promotes the study of the cultural, historical and ecological resources in Southern California's social and environmental setting. It provides locational and policy analysis to the university and the Southern California community.

More information about the United Way report is available online at www.unitedwayla.org.


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