Teenagers much more likely to be crime victims than any other group, report says

Tuesday, July 16th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Teenagers are twice as likely as any other people to be shot, stabbed, sexually assaulted, beaten or otherwise attacked, according to a report released Tuesday by two advocacy groups.

Using data from government crime reports and academic studies, the groups found one in five teens has been the victim of a violent crime.

``When we think about crime, we tend to think about teenagers as perpetrators,'' said Susan Herman, executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime, editorial consultants on the report researched by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

She said the report found, however, that ``far more teens are victimized by crime than are perpetrators.''

Herman said teenage victims often live in homes with incest or violence, attend schools where bullying is prevalent or inhabit neighborhoods infested with gangs.

George Tita, assistant professor of criminology at the University of California, Irvine, said safer environments don't necessarily make teenagers less vulnerable to crime.

``It has more to do with who you hang out with than where you live,'' he said.

``We know that if you sell drugs, are involved in drugs, are involved in gangs, your chances of being a victim of crime, especially violent crime, is much, much greater than for those who aren't,'' Tita said.

The council on crime and delinquency and the crime victims center are sponsoring a campaign to educate the public about teenager victimization and to help organizations that aid victims and youth.

Other findings of the report include:

_Teenage girls are as likely to be raped as teenage boys are to be robbed.

_Black teenagers were twice as likely as white teenagers to be victimized by aggravated assault in 1999.

_Black girls ages 12 to 18 are more likely than all other groups of teenagers to be victims of violence.

_American Indians between 12 and 17 were victimized by violence at a rate 49 percent higher than blacks between 1992 and 1996.

_Black and white teenage boys were victimized at the same rate, but black teenagers were more likely to be victims of more serious violence.