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Household-Related Crime Rate Highest in West, Survey Finds

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from a Times Staff Writer

Homes in the West were more vulnerable to crime than those in any other region last year, the Justice Department reported Sunday.

Estimates of the department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics are that a violent crime or theft occurred in 29% of Western households in 1987, compared to 19% of residences in the Northeast, the least affected region of the country. The nationwide figure was 24%, about the same as in 1985 and 1986.

“Approximately 1 million fewer households were touched by crime last year than during 1975, even though there are now about 18 million more homes than there were then,” said the bureau director, Steven R. Schlesinger.

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He noted, however, that the improvement benefited more white households than black ones. From 1975 to 1987, crime fell by 25% in white households and 15% among black households.

Schlesinger attributed the difference primarily to the fact that thefts from black homes did not decline. The rates of violent crime, theft and burglary declined similarly in both black and white households.

Last year, about 24% of white homes, 28% of black homes and 30% of Latino homes were affected by rape, robbery, assault, personal theft, household theft or motor vehicle theft, the bureau said.

The estimates were based on a nationwide survey of 99,000 people in a sampling of about 49,000 of the 91.4 million U.S. residences.

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