The Uncommon Man

December 30, 2008

Study finds black teen killing rate up

***This articles serves as a reminder of why engaging men in violence prevention is relevant and it is important to note, as it is illustrates in the article, that this is an issue of young Black men killing other young Black men.***

Black teenagers are killing each other in rising numbers as part of a troubling trend that has been masked by a falling crime rate in the United States, according to a new study released today by Northeastern University.

FBI crime statistics show overall decreases in violent crime and murder. But amid those numbers, the report by criminal justice professors James Alan Fox and Marc Swatt found other disturbing trends.

Among their findings: an increase of more than 39 percent in the number of black males between ages 14-17 killed between 2000 and 2007 and an increase of 34 percent in the number of blacks that age who committed homicide.

The increases for white male teens, meanwhile, were nearly 17 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

“We can’t ignore that hidden in the overall good news is very bad news for a segment of the population, young black males, and they need our attention,” Fox said.

Fox calls for an infusion of government money to beef up police forces and restore mentor, sports, after-school and summer programs that withered as federal funds were redirected from cities to homeland security after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

“We need to invest much more in the lives of these kids,” Fox said. “I know there’s lot of people who say times are tough and we don’t have the money, but we either pay for these programs now or pray for these victims later because crime doesn’t wait until the economy improves.”

Fox emphasizes that despite problems highlighted in his report, crime isn’t out of control.

The report indicates guns are overwhelmingly the weapon of choice for young black offenders and are now used in nearly 85 percent of all homicides they commit, matching 1990s levels. The Rev. Jeffrey Brown, executive director of the anti-crime Ten Point Coalition in Boston, said the spike in gun murders by and on young blacks “bears out what I see on the streets every day.”

“The victim and perpetrators of gun crimes are getting younger and younger,” he said.

By Associated Press | Monday, December 29, 2008 | | Local Coverage
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Posted by Aaron Buford at December 30, 2008 01:43 PM


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