6 Issues Criminology 1 (1971)
Criminality among Jews: An Overview

handle is hein.journals/iscrim6 and id is 133 raw text is: ISSUES IN CRIMINOLOGY, VOLUME 6, NUMBER 2 (SUMMER, 1971)

Criminality Among Jews: An Overview
Menachem Amir*
I. INTRODUCTION
This paper is a critique of certain studies wholly or partially
devoted to examining criminality among Jews. Although the emphasis
is on American studies, included also are the major European, English
language, studies which preceded and, in some cases, serve as a basis
for the American studies.
The first section consists of an evaluation of all the American
studies with emphasis on the methodological problems. The second
section comprises an intensive analysis of the most substantial studies.
In the final section, those factors which are normally identified as
causes of Jewish criminality will be examined.
The conclusion of most studies is that Jews have a low crime
rate. It is lower than that of non-Jews taken as a whole, lower than
that of other religious groups, and lower than a rate based simply on
the Jewish proportion of the population (the expected rate). How-
ever, the Jewish crime rate tends to be higher than that of non-Jews
and other religious groups for white-collar offenses, that is, com-
mercial or commercially related crimes, such as fraud, fraudulent
bankruptcy, and embezzlement. Also, where special laws have been
enacted for religious groups, the general crime rate for Jews has
tended to be high. The terms normal or general findings in this
paper refer to findings such as these concerning criminality among
Jews.
*Menachem Amir received his B.A. degree from the Hebrew University in 1958 and'his
Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1965. He was a Lecturer at the Hebrew
University from 1965 to 1969 and is presently on sabbatical at the University of California,
School of Criminology. He will join the faculty of the University of Tel Aviv, Institute of
Criminal Justice.
I

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