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La.’s Black homicide victimization rate 5 times that of the rest of country

3rd April 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Della Hasselle
Contributing Writer

The Black homicide victimization rate in Louisiana is a whopping five times the average homicide rate for all victims nation-wide, according to a new analysis released last week by the Violence Policy Center, a national gun control advocacy organization.

The annual study, “Black Homicide Victimization in the United States: An Analysis of 2014 Homicide Data,” shows the Pelican State has the tenth-highest victimization rate among Black residents in the country.

Overall, the rate of 21.98 Black residents killed per population of 100,000 is nearly 1.5 times higher than the rate at which African-American residents get killed nationwide.

The ranking is based on unpublished data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Supplementary Homicide Report. The study, published this year, details homicide rates for 2014, the most recent year for which comprehensive national data is available.

Violence Policy Center Executive Director Josh Sugarmann points out that the majority of homicides noted in the study are caused by firearms, and has issued a call to help educate the public and policymakers, as well as community leaders already working to end gun violence across America.

“Each year this report reveals the devastating and disproportionate impact homicide, almost always involving a gun, has on black men, boys, women, and girls in America,” Sugarmann said. “These deaths devastate families and traumatize whole communities.”

In Louisiana, there were 332 Black homicide victims in 2014, resulting in a homicide rate of 21.98 per 100,000. That year, the national Black homicide rate was 16.38 per 100,000, and the overall national homicide rate was 4.19 per 100,000.

For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 87 percent of the Black homicide victims in Louisiana were shot and killed with guns. Nationwide, 83 percent of Black homicide victims were killed with guns.

Victoria Coy, executive director of the Louisiana Violence Reduction Coalition, said that the potential for gun control reform exists, but is stymied by lack of legislative action.

“Our elected officials should be ashamed of themselves as Louisiana is once again among the top states whose Black residents are forced to live with tragedy and heartbreak,” Coy said. “Entire cities are being torn apart while politicians line their pockets with blood money from the gun lobby.”

In Louisiana, 281 of the Black homicide victims were male, according to the report.
Thirty-six of the Black homicide victims, or 11 percent, were less than 18 years old and seven victims were 65 years of age or older. The average age was 31 years old.

The report, and Coy, also pointed out that most of the homicide victims knew their attacker.

A whopping 80 percent of Black homicide victims, or 126 out of 158, were killed by someone they knew. Thirty-two were killed by strangers.

Another statistic shows that gun violence can be isolated. For homicides in which the circumstances could be identified, 59 percent were not related to the commission of any other felony, the study showed.

The majority — 52 percent — involved arguments between the victim and the offender.

This article originally published in the April 3, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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