Is Gangsta Rap Behind Colorado Springs Murder Rise?


A spate of shootings and a rising murder rate have Colorado Springs CO police saying gangsta rap is contributing to the violence, luring gang members and criminal activity to nightclubs, reports the New York Times. “We don't want to broad-brush hip-hop music altogether,” said Lt. Skip Arms, a police spokesman, “but we're looking at a subcomponent that typically glorifies, promotes criminal behavior and demeans women.” Police actions have angered the hip-hop community, mostly blacks and Latinos, many of whom live in the city because of ties to its Army and Air Force bases.

With 19 homicides already this year, compared with 15 in 2006, the police insist on a correlation between gangsta rap and violence, and point to three recent shootings. “When you have music that says it's basically O.K. to treat women poorly, to steal things and to confront and shoot police officers,” said Lt. Thomas Harris, “you'll attract a small percentage of the population that wants to lead the thug life.” Since 1990, the Colorado Springs area, south of Denver, has swollen to nearly half a million from 397,000. Though racial tensions that led to marches in the 1970s and '80s are largely of the past, there remains a sense of benign neglect toward minorities, said Dr. José J. Barrera, former director of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.


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