U.S. Black Male Murder Rate Called ‘National Crisis’

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Lorease Mumford of Detroit still is reeling from the loss of her only son, whose December 2016 killing remains unsolved. She is not alone, the Detroit News reports. African Americans die from homicide at much higher rates than other racial groups, especially in Michigan and its largest city, Detroit. The toll on African-American males is relentless, as evidenced by the fatal shootings of three young men, all in their 20s, in the lobby of a White Castle restaurant last month. FBI data analyzed by the Washington-based Violence Policy Center showed that there were 7,014 black homicide victims in the U.S. in 2015, a homicide rate of 18.68 per 100,000 people among African Americans, compared with an overall rate of 4.62 per 100,000.

Of those 7,014 victims, 88 percent were male. In Detroit, of 312 homicide victims in 2016, 279 were African American; 246 of those black victims — 88 percent — were male. While Detroit’s rate of black male homicide is high — 97 per 100,000 — it trails that of Chicago, where the rate is 120 per 100,000. As of Aug. 1, 64 African-American men between the ages of 18-35 had lost their lives to gunfire in Detroit, out of 175 homicides. Detroit Police Chief James Craig says while crime in the city has gone down overall, the homicide rate among the city’s black male population, especially young people, remains stubbornly high.  “It’s not just a Detroit thing,” said Craig. “It’s a national problem.” Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center says the analysis points to homicide as a “national crisis” for African Americans. “Each day in America, the number of black homicide victims exceeds the toll in the Parkland, Fl., mass shooting,” he said. “And just like Parkland and other mass shootings, these deaths devastate families, traumatize whole communities, and should provoke an outcry for change.”

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