Hispanic Crime in Texas, California, and New Mexico: Similarities and Differences With Anglo and African American Crime

Loretta Capeheart, University of Idaho

Studies examining Mexican-American crime trends are lacking in the current literature. Data that delineate ethnic identity are not readily available. This study offers an analysis of state level Uniform Crime Report data in an attempt to identify Hispanic crime trends in Texas, California, and New Mexico. Although all persons identified as Hispanic in these data will not necessarily be of Mexican-American descent an examination of general demographic data suggest that most will. Just as each ethnic group in the United States has its own experience, the Mexican-American experience is unique. While many Mexican-Americans did not immigrate to the United States, but were instead enveloped into the United States following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), many others have since immigrated. The oppression of Mexican-Americans has depended on many factors throughout U.S. history including immigration and geographic location. This work tests a previously developed critical theory of Mexican-American crime that considers the history and geography of Mexican-American oppression. The theory suggests that the criminal behavior of Hispanics in New Mexico will more closely resemble that of Anglos in that state while the criminal behavior of Hispanics in Texas and California will more closely resemble African Americans in those states.

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Updated 05/20/2006