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FEAR OF CRIME NEARLY DOUBLES AMONG BLACKS

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Black households are nearly three times more likely than white ones to fear crime in their neighborhoods, and that black fear is growing faster than white fear, a survey found.

Fear of neighborhood crime has risen almost twice as much among blacks as whites since the mid-1980s, reflecting the fact that violent crime strikes blacks more frequently, the Justice Department reported Sunday.The department's Bureau of Justice Statistics said that between 1985 and 1991, the percentage of white households that believe crime in their neighborhoods is a serious problem grew by 50 percent - from 4 percent of all white households to 6 percent.

During the same period, the number of black households expressing serious concern about neighborhood crime almost doubled - from 9 percent of all black households to almost 17 percent.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics drew the data from the American Housing Survey, which is conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development once every two years to obtain residents' views of neighborhood problems. About 60,000 households were surveyed.

In central cities, black households viewing neighborhood crime as serious rose from 12 percent to 23 percent over the period.

Among white central-city households, the percentage citing neighborhood crime as serious rose from 8 percent in 1985 to 13 percent in 1991. It was not the most frequently mentioned neighborhood problem.

These perceptions, the bureau pointed out, mirror the incidence of violent crime, which victimizes blacks more than whites and central-city residents more than those in suburbs or rural areas.