From Cincinnati to Orlando and Houston to Columbus, Ohio, cities are witnessing a rise in homicides, prompting police and other officials to take a hard look at what is fueling the bloodshed, says the Indianapolis Star. Nationally, the FBI reported a 4.8 percent spike in homicides from 2004 to 2005; Marion County, In., tallied 95 homicides from Jan. 1 through last Friday afternoon, a clip that could make this the deadliest year since 162 people were slain in 1998.
“This isn’t a local problem,” said Richard Rosenfeld, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. “There is a tendency for each of the cities experiencing the increase to see it as their problem. But this is happening in a sufficiently large number of places to suggest what’s going on will involve an explanation that extends well beyond the local police departments, the local cities.” William Pridemore, a criminal justice professor at Indiana University, said one possible factor is the overall shifting of resources from policing, youth programs and anti-violence initiatives to homeland security and other areas. “Violence rates were low for five or six years, at least relative to what they had been,” he said. “Maybe we got lazy and accepted that that’s what things are. We forgot that we had to work to get them that low.” Rosenfeld said a less-than-stellar economy could be contributing to the problem, because crime usually goes up when times get tough.