A Sad Story

An NPR report shows that homicide in the Black Community is increasing.

NPR.org, December 29, 2008 · The number of homicides involving black youths — as victims and perpetrators — surged by more than 30 percent from 2002 to 2007, even as overall murder rates across the U.S. have been relatively stable, according to a study released Monday by researchers at Northeastern University.

The study showed that the number of black murder victims rose by more than 31 percent from 2000 to 2007. The number of murders involving young, black perpetrators rose by 43 percent over the same period, according to the study by criminal justice professors James Alan Fox and Marc Swatt.

The report also noted that guns were the weapon of choice in most of the killings.

Last year, 426 black males ages 14-17 died in gun crimes — 40 percent more than in 2000; nearly 1,000 young black males used guns to kill someone in 2007 — 38 percent higher than in 2000.

Fox said the homicide rate for blacks — especially teenagers — has risen steadily and across geographic regions. He said one reason could be the profound shift in priorities since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which means police departments have taken on homeland security duties — often at the expense of community policing.

“Now, I don’t want to weigh one life against another, but when you look at it, many more people are murdered every single year in ordinary street violence than were killed on Sept. 11, 2001,” Fox said.

Fox also said communities’ complacency because of the overall decrease in crime may also be a factor. The study found the number of police officers in major cities has dropped more than 8 percent, and funding for crime prevention programs is down.

Fox said funding cuts disproportionately affect black communities, which suffer from broken families, bad schools and active gangs.

“I know people want their tax rebates and stimuli checks, but you know, a few extra dollars in your pocket is of little consolation if you’re staring down the wrong end of a gun,” Fox said.

Not all criminologists agree on the difference federal funding could make, but Fox said he hopes the Obama administration will increase funding. Vice President-elect Joe Biden was a driving force behind legislation that put 100,000 cops on the streets in the mid-1990s.

I am hopeful that Obama and Biden can fight to change this, but what I really hope is that the church, regardless of racial background will step-up and intervene. This is not Africa, this is not Asia, this is not a thousand miles away. This is our backyard, these are our neighbors.

  1. I’ve read several reports on this topic recently and none of them highlight the true problem: “fatherless” homes. Black males have always has less than ideal circumstance to grow up in, but in the past, we always had a good role model nearby to pattern ourselves after. This no longer seems to be the case. While role models are out there, many black youths think that these folks are fake and want to “keep it real.” That, combined with gangster rap videos, black reality television, drugs, gangs, etc. have meant the demise of our community.

    Black youth don’t need programs, they need fathers. They don’t need fancy slogans or such, they need mentors. What they need are positive influences in their lives.

    A tip for black Moms: no matter what you’re into, be sure that ANY man that’s around your kids is positive, legal, and God fearing.

    • I am Robert – I completely agree. I am proud of the single mothers who raise their children, but both male and female youth need that older male mentor. The girls never learn what to expect from a man or of their own value and then make the same cyclical mistakes. And the boys are simply lost with no guidance and then learn “masculinity” from rappers, actor and the irresponsible fathers on the block. Programs should supplement and/or fill the gap of absent problems, but they should not be depended on too much. I think the over programming of the Black community has made many Blacks disabled and dependent people.

      I would also suggest that we are often mislead by seeing the success stories of athletes like Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, etc. They are the anomalies not the norm.

  2. You are so right! While I am proud of some of the more socially conservative athletes, these folks are entertainers. For sure–but what to do? Even in my own home, it’s hard to keep Mom from watching the latest rounds of black reality TV. We [black parents] must lead by example. We must teach our children that of all the “possible” options, the one’s that are tried and true are education and entrepreneurship.

    God Bless

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