BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A new study released by the Violence Policy Center in Washington, DC reveals black men in Louisiana are being murdered at an alarming rate compared to other parts of the country. Using FBI data, the report says Louisiana had the sixth highest black homicide rate in the country in 2011 with more than 25 for every 100 thousand. Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden says that is a number that can't be tolerated.
"Just like you were out there vocal about murders happening during the civil rights movement you must also be as vocal today because people need to hear from you and about your disdain for murder happening in our community," said Holden.
The study also states that of the 375 black victims that were murdered, more than 87 percent were men and in cases where investigators could identify all those involved, 81 percent of the victims knew their killers.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore acknowledges the murder rate among black men is high in the area but says those affected by these homicides represents a specific group which can often become trapped in a vicious cycle of violent crime.
"Most people obey the law or don't shoot and kill each other and it's an extremely small number and whoever they relate with or associate with most likely either become a defendant or a victim," added Moore.
Moore also adds that programs like BRAVE are attacking those trends resulting in major progress and the numbers seem to support the claim. Between 2010 and 2012 there were more than 80 murders parish wide each year. In 2013, BRAVE's first full year of operation, the parish witnessed 63 murders, its lowest total in a decade.
"We're learning a whole lot more about crime and criminology and how to work and so hopefully with this good year in 2013 we're going to be off of a lot of bad lists and moving in the right direction," said Moore.
Holden says lowering the murder rates is not just a matter of new strategies and urges people at home to do everything they can in their own communities and neighborhoods.
"We have a responsibility to tell these young people and direct these young people away from a life of crime and to a life that makes them a productive citizen in the parish and wherever they choose to live after they leave Baton Rouge," said Holden.
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The copy of press release is listed below:
Louisiana Ranks #6 for Black Homicide Victimization Rate
State's black homicide victimization rate is 25.30 per 100,000, nine out of 10 victims killed with guns
Washington, DC — Louisiana ranks sixth in the nation in the rate of black homicide victimization with a rate of 25.30 per 100,000, which is nearly one and a half times the national black homicide victimization rate and more than five times the overall homicide victimization rate nationwide, according to a new analysis by the Violence Policy Center (VPC).
The annual VPC study, Black Homicide Victimization in the United States: An Analysis of 2011 Homicide Data, ranks the states according to their black homicide victimization rates. It is based on unpublished data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR). The study refers to homicide rates in 2011, the most recent year for which comprehensive national data is available. This is the eighth year the VPC has released the study.
In Louisiana, there were 375 black homicide victims in 2011, resulting in a homicide rate of 25.30 per 100,000. That year, the national black homicide rate was 17.51 per 100,000, and the overall national homicide rate was 4.44 per 100,000.
For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 90 percent of the black homicide victims in Louisiana (330 out of 365) were shot and killed with guns. Nationwide, for homicides in which the weapons used could be identified, 82 percent of black homicide victims were killed with guns.
"Gun violence is a public health crisis that touches all Americans, but the impact on African Americans is especially devastating," states VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann. "This report should be a wake-up call for our elected officials to address the disproportionately high homicide victimization rate among black men and women. The longer we wait to act, the more lives will be lost."
The 10 states with the highest black homicide victimization rates in 2011 were:
Rank State Black Homicide Rate Per 100,000
1 Nebraska 34.43
2 Missouri 33.38
3 Michigan 31.54
4 Pennsylvania 29.02
5 Oklahoma 25.51
6 Louisiana 25.30
7 Kansas 24.97
8 Wisconsin 23.22
9 West Virginia 22.79
10 North Dakota 21.99
For LOUISIANA, the study finds that in 2011:
- Of the 375 black homicide victims, 328 were male and 47 were female.
- Of the 330 black homicide victims killed with guns, 94 percent (310 victims) were killed with handguns. There were 7 victims killed with firearms where the type of gun was not stated. There were 17 victims killed with knives or other cutting instruments, 12 victims killed by bodily force, and 1 victim killed by a blunt object.
- Thirty-three black homicide victims (9 percent) were less than 18 years old and 6 victims (2 percent) were 65 years of age or older. The average age was 29 years old.
- For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 81 percent of black homicide victims (112 out of 138) were murdered by someone they knew. Twenty-six victims were killed by strangers.
- For homicides in which the circumstances could be identified, 63 percent (72 out of 114) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these, 88 percent (63 homicides) involved arguments between the victim and the offender.
For the entire UNITED STATES, the study finds that in 2011:
There were 6,309 black homicide victims in the United States. Of these, 5,452 were male, 854 were female, and 3 were of unknown gender.
- The black homicide victimization rate in the United States was 17.51 per 100,000. In comparison, the overall national homicide victimization rate was 4.44 per 100,000. For whites, the national homicide victimization rate was 2.64 per 100,000.
- The homicide rate for black male victims was 31.67 per 100,000. In comparison, the overall homicide rate for male victims was 7.13 per 100,000. For white male victims, the homicide rate was 3.85 per 100,000.
- The homicide rate for black female victims was 4.54 per 100,000. In comparison, the overall homicide rate for female victims was 1.81 per 100,000. For white female victims, the homicide rate was 1.45 per 100,000.
- For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 82 percent of black victims (4,949 out of 6,022) were shot and killed with guns. Of these, 77 percent (3,824 victims) were killed with handguns. There were 868 victims killed with firearms where the type of gun was not stated. There were 644 victims killed with knives or other cutting instruments, 221 killed by bodily force, and 130 victims killed by a blunt object.
- Four hundred eighty-seven black homicide victims (8 percent) were less than 18 years old and 100 victims (2 percent) were 65 years of age or older. The average age was 30 years old.
- For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 73 percent of black victims (2,138 out of 2,928) were murdered by someone they knew. Seven hundred ninety victims were killed by strangers.
- For homicides in which the circumstances could be identified, 70 percent (2,540 out of 3,652) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these, 58 percent (1,475 homicides) involved arguments between the victim and the offender.