Before the Buffalo incident, 1 in 3 Black Americans worried about safety

Buffalo incident

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Before a White shooter massacred 10 Black individuals in a Buffalo, New York, grocery store on May 14, 1 in 3 black Americans worried about safety.


According to a Pew Research Center survey, a third of Black individuals (32%) said they worried every day or almost every day about being threatened or attacked because of their race or ethnicity. 21% of Asian Americans, 14% of Hispanics, and 4% of Whites agreed.


In the same study, 3 in 10 Black adults who indicated being intimidated or attacked said they changed their daily schedule or routine in the preceding year. 36% of Asian adults, 22% of Hispanic adults, and 12% of White adults stated they took such steps.

FBI data shows that black Americans are disproportionately targeted for hate crimes. More than a third (35%) of the 8,263 criminal occurrences recorded in the FBI’s hate crimes report for 2020 featured anti-Black or African American hatred. Many hate crimes aren’t reported to police, and many police agencies don’t submit complete data to the FBI.

Black Americans fear gun violence and criminality

In the same study conducted in late April and early May, 78% of Black adults thought gun violence is a very major problem in the U.S. 77% of Black people thought violent crime is a serious problem in the country, compared to 54% of Hispanics and 50% of Whites. While the survey included individuals of various racial and ethnic backgrounds, there weren’t enough Asian adults to reliably determine their attitudes toward gun violence and violent crime.

Black adults are more likely than Hispanic and White individuals to regard gun violence and violent crime as serious problems.

The April-May study queried U.S. adults about 12 issues, from climate change to the coronavirus pandemic. Inflation was the top issue for U.S. adults overall, but gun violence and violent crime were top concerns among Black adults. Majorities of Black adults also cited racism (73%), inflation (68%), and health care affordability (63%).

Black Americans are concerned about local violence and crime, according to other Center surveys.

A 2021 study of Black individuals asked respondents to choose the most critical issue in their community. Violence or crime, including shootings, drug activities, and theft, was the most common issue (17%).

In a separate October 2021 survey, 42% of Black adults stated crime was a big concern in their town, compared to lesser numbers of Hispanic (30%), Asian (24%) and White individuals (17%).

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