Now researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University have teamed up to closely examine why Hispanics, whose percentage of the state population grew from 1.2 percent in 1990 to 4.7 percent in 2000, have become favorite targets of thieves. More importantly, the investigators have produced educational materials including Spanish-language brochures, public service announcements, a photographic storybook, or photonovela, and videos to try to reduce such crimes.
The N.C. Governors Crime Commission, Department of Crime Control and Public Safety and Justice Academy supported the effort, along with the N.C. Alliance of Latin Law Enforcement and chiefs of police and sheriffs across the state.
Researchers conducted 42 hour-long, in-depth interviews with law enforcement officers and social service personnel in six N.C. communities: Charlotte, Durham, Fayetteville, High Point and Greene and Wilkes counties.
They also formed and held discussions with two Spanish-language focus groups -- one for men and one for women -- in each of the six communities to gauge 100 Latino residents experiences with crime and law enforcement. Among subjects discussed was what information participants felt was needed to prevent crime in their communities.
Hispanics are becoming an increasingly important part of North Carolinas population, and they are not getting the services they should be getting, said Dr. William M. Rohe, director of the UNC Center for Urban and Regional Studies. They are being victimized because of their ethnicity and language barriers, and that shouldnt happen.
Dr. Thomas A. Arcury, formerly of UNC and now associate professor of community and family
Contact: David Williamson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill