Crimes against the historically marginalized Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) by the upper castes in India represent an extreme form of prejudice and discrimination. In this paper, we investigate the effect of changes in relative material standards of living between the SC/ST and upper castes, as measured by consumption expenditures, on changes in the incidence of crimes against SC/ST. Using official district level crime data for the period 2001--10, we find a positive association between crimes and expenditure of SC/ST vis--à--vis the upper castes suggesting that a widening of the gap between groups is associated with a decrease in caste--based crimes. Moreover, this effect seems to be driven by the upper castes’ responding to changes in status quo. The results are robust to changes in specifications and modeling assumptions.