Reporting Violent Victimization to the Police: A Focus on Black, White, Asian and Hispanic Adolescent Victims

Callie Marie Rennison*, 1, Angela R. Gover1, Stacey J. Bosick2, Mary Dodge1
1 School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado 80217-3364, USA
2 Department of Sociology, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado 80217-3364, USA

© 2011 Rennison et al;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver, Campus Box 142, 1380 Lawrence Street, Suite 525R, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, Colorado 80217-3364, USA; Tel: 303-315-2813; Fax: 303-315-2229; E-mail:


Explorations of patterns of why and when citizens report crime to police are an important area of study in the field of criminology and criminal justice. Initial National Crime Survey data suggest that a substantial proportion of crime went unreported to the authorities (i.e., law enforcement reports as reflected by the Uniform Crime Reports). The purpose of this study is to enhance our understanding about reporting violence against adolescents to the police. This research examines the extent and nature of reporting violence against juveniles to the police, and specifically focuses on how reporting differs between white, black, Asian and Hispanic adolescents. This area is important to investigate to ascertain whether all groups have equal access to the benefits of the Criminal Justice system. Additionally, understanding why adolescent victims or their agents fail to engage the criminal justice system in the wake of a violent victimization is relevant to the development of policy addressing weaknesses in the police response and the particular vulnerabilities of minority victims and their communities.

Keywords: Reporting, violent victimization, adolescents, police, race, ethnicity.