The chances of being a crime victim continued to decline last year for most Americans, but blacks and Latinos were much more likely than whites to be victimized, the government reported Sunday.
The National Crime Victimization Survey, released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, showed that crimes against individuals age 12 and over fell 3.6% from 1989 to 1990.
There were 18.9 million individual crimes in 1990, compared to 19.7 million the year before, the report said.
There was no state-by-state breakdown.
Crimes against households, including burglaries and car thefts, decreased 4.4%, from 16.1 million to 15.4 million.
Violent crimes, such as assault, increased 3.3%, from 5.8 million to 6 million. Those numbers were included in the individual crime figures.
The figures are estimates of the total number of crimes committed annually and the rate of each crime per 1,000 people 12 or older or per 1,000 households.
"The findings are a continuation of a downward trend in the number of criminal victimizations that began a decade ago," said Steven Dillingham, the bureau director.
The rate for individual crimes was 24.5% lower than in 1973, the first year the statistics were kept, the bureau reported. Crimes against households fell 26.1% during the period.
But blacks and Latinos were more likely to be victims than whites.
For example, the report said, there were 13 robberies for every 1,000 black U.S. residents last year, compared to 4.5 robberies for whites. There were 13.9 robberies for every 1,000 Latinos.
Blacks and Latinos also had higher household crime rates than did those of other races, the bureau said.
The report said also that young people, males, residents of inner cities and the poor were more likely targets than others.
The assault rates for people 16 to 19 years old, for example, was 63.5 per 1,000 individuals, compared to 1.9 assaults per 1,000 people.
Residents in the West were most often victims of individual crimes, with 107.8 crimes per 1,000 people. There were 97.7 crimes per 1,000 people in the Midwest, 95.6 per 1,000 in the South and 72.1 in the Northeast.
Household crimes also were more prevalent in the West, with 199.8 per 1,000 people. The South was second with 173.2, while there were 148 in the Midwest and 119.3 in the Northeast.
Moreover, the pattern was similar for violent crimes. There were 34.2 violent crimes per 1,000 people in the West, 31.1 in the South, 30.5 in the Midwest and 21.8 in the Northeast.