UNC, Wake Forest scholars work to reduce crimes against Hispanics in North Carolina

medicine at Wake Forest University, directed the project, and Rebecca Elmore, research associate at the Center for Urban and Regional Studies, was project coordinator. Rohe served as principal investigator. Help also came from an advisory committee composed of Hispanics from each of the six communities studied and representatives from law enforcement and the courts.

Our chief goal was to develop materials that community organizations and law enforcement agencies could use to educate people about ways to reduce crime victimization, Acury said. The materials, especially the photonovela, have been very well received, and reactions of the groups and police have been really positive.

Outside professionals transcribed and translated interviews and focus group discussions into English and Spanish as necessary. Project staff analyzed the resulting information, and distributed educational materials to Spanish language newspapers and radio stations across the state and other outlets.

An important topic addressed in these materials that was not expected to be a pervasive concern was Latinos fear of police brutality based on experiences in their home countries, Rohe said.

No good statistical information on crimes against Latinos was available for North Carolina, the team found. Most previously produced crime prevention materials also were inappropriate because of language and educational barriers.

Hispanics reported robbery to be the most common and most feared crime they faced. Seven of the 100 focus group participants were robbery victims themselves, and 60 said they knew of at least one Latino robbed or assaulted while living in North Carolina, Elmore said.

Between 1997 and 1998, there was a group of folks that decided to do home invasions in Latino houses, a Durham community leader said. There was a time where almost every day we heard from a family being robbedthere were even rapes, and kids with pistols at their hea

Contact: David Williamson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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