We used multilevel data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) to identify factors that account for differences in risk of violent victimization among young Latino adults in new and traditional settlement areas.
Area-identified NCVS data (2008–2012) were linked with census tract data from the decennial census and American Community Survey to study individual and community contributions to the risk of violent victimization. We analyzed total violence and violence specific to offense types and victim-offender relationship. The analyses were performed adjusting for the complex survey design.
Young Latino adults in new settlement areas have higher victimization rates than their counterparts in traditional areas for total violence and for the majority of violence types studied. Holding constant individual and other contextual factors, Latino population density is a key neighborhood characteristic that explains the observed area differences in victimization, yielding evidence for the hypothesis that co-ethnic support in a community helps protect young Latino adults and contributes to differences in victimization across areas. Also there is evidence that the protective role of Latino population density is stronger for violence involving non-strangers than it is for violence involving strangers. Moreover, we find that the concentration of Latino immigrants, which indicates the neighborhood potential for immigrant revitalization, is another neighborhood factor that protects young Latino adults in both new and traditional settlement areas. However, there is some but limited evidence that the neighborhood-revitalizing role of immigration might be smaller in some contexts (such as some new areas outside central cities), possibly because those areas are heterogeneous in their ability to promote the integration of immigrants.
Our analysis of the NCVS shows the importance of neighborhood factors for the risk of violence among young Latino adults. It provides evidence consistent with co-ethnic support and immigrant revitalization theories. The findings also suggest that the effects of those neighborhood factors may be contingent upon violence type and the context in which they occur. These findings help us understand the difference in the safety of young Latino adults in new and traditional areas.
Why is the Victimization of Young Latino Adults Higher in New Areas of Settlement?