WASHINGTON (NNPA) – For the third year in a row, Missouri ranks as the state with the highest homicide victimization rate, with 33.86 per 100,000, double the national average of 16.32 for Black homicide victims, according to an annual study by the Violence Policy Center. The report, “Black Homicide Victimization in the United States: An Analysis of 2010 Homicide Data,” also noted that African-Americans represented 13 percent of the population, but 49 percent of all homicide victims.
Josh Sugarmann, VPC executive director and study co-author said, “Across the nation this is a long-ignored public health crisis that is devastating black teens and adults, their families, and the communities where they live. The key role played by guns in black homicide victimization cannot be denied and must be addressed.”
The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Among the report’s national findings for 2010:
* There were 6,469 Black homicide victims in the United States. Of these, 5,582 were male, and 887 were female.
* The homicide rate for Black victims in the United States was 16.32 per 100,000. In comparison, the overall national homicide rate was 4.42 per 100,000 and the national homicide rate for Whites was 2.66 per 100,000.
* For the year 2010, Blacks represented 13 percent of the nation’s population, yet accounted for 49 percent of all homicide victims.
* For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 83 percent of Black victims (5,073 out of 6,149) were killed with guns. Of these, 72 percent (3,658 victims) were killed with handguns. There were 617 victims killed with knives or other cutting instruments, 219 victims killed by bodily force, and 162 victims killed by a blunt object.
* For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 70 percent of Black victims (2,146 out of 3,058) were murdered by someone they knew. Nine hundred twelve victims were killed by strangers.
* For homicides involving Black victims for which the circumstances could be identified, 71 percent (2,847 out of 4,029) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these, 54 percent (1,539 homicides) involved arguments between the victim and the offender. Fifteen percent (420 homicides) were reported to be gang-related.
In Missouri, for homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 91 percent of Black victims (222 out of 244) were killed with guns. Of these, 58 percent (128 victims) were known to be killed with handguns. There were 85 victims killed with firearms where the type of gun was not stated. There were 14 victims killed with knives or other cutting instruments, four victims killed by bodily force, and two victims killed by a blunt object.
For homicides involving Black victims in Missouri for which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 71 percent of Black victims (56 out of 79) were murdered by someone they knew. Twenty-three victims were killed by strangers. •