By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
According to a new and comprehensive study on gun violence, Black men, women, boys, and girls remain the most impacted victims of homicide in America, yet year after year this shocking and unacceptable toll is allowed to continue.
The study published by the Washington, D.C.-based Violence Policy Center, revealed that in 2019, the United States recorded 7,441 Black homicide victims.
African Americans represent 14 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for 52 percent of all homicide victims, the study authors found.
The annual study, Black Homicide Victimization in the United States: An Analysis of 2019 Homicide Data, also ranks the states according to their Black homicide victimization rates.
Officials said it’s based on unpublished data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Supplementary Homicide Report.
The study details homicide rates for 2019, the most recent year for which comprehensive national data is available.
For homicides in which authorities could identify the weapon used, 88 percent of Black victims (6,190 out of 7,056) were shot and killed with guns.
Of those, 64 percent (3,935 victims) were killed with handguns.
On average, more than 20 Black Americans died each day from homicide – 17 were known to have died from gunshots.
“These deaths almost always involve a gun, and the resulting devastation ravages families, friends, and community members,” Violence Policy Center Executive Director Josh Sugarmann stated in a news release.
“The goal of our research is to help support advocates and organizations working on the ground to stop this lethal violence while, at the same time, continuing to educate and engage the public and policymakers on the need to address this ongoing national crisis,” Sugarmann said.
The study also revealed that the Black homicide victimization rate in the United States was nearly four times the overall national victimization rate and nearly seven times the white homicide victimization rate.
In 2019, the Black homicide victimization rate was 18.08 per 100,000.
In comparison, the overall national homicide victimization rate was 4.79 per 100,000. For whites, the national homicide victimization rate was 2.69 per 100,000.
Further, 87 percent of Black homicide victims were male (6,454 of 7,441) and 13 percent were female (986 of 7,441).
The sex of one victim wasn’t unknown.
The authors noted that Black male homicide victimization rate in the United States was “more than four times the overall male victimization rate and more than eight times the white male homicide victimization rate.”
In 2019, the homicide victimization rate for Black male victims was 32.49 per 100,000.
In comparison, the overall rate for male homicide victims was 7.68 per 100,000 and the rate for white male homicide victims was 3.88 per 100,000.
Meanwhile, the Black female homicide victimization rate in the United States was more than twice the overall female victimization rate and three times the white female homicide victimization rate.
In 2019, the homicide victimization rate for Black female victims was 4.60 per 100,000. In comparison, the overall rate for female homicide victims was 1.95 per 100,000 and the rate for white female homicide victims was 1.52 per 100,000.
For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 77 percent of Black victims (2,282 out of 2,954) were killed by someone they knew.
The number of victims killed by strangers was 672.
For homicides in which the circumstances could be identified, 70 percent (2,856 out of 4,102) were not related to the commission of any other felony.
Of these, 56 percent (1,591 homicides) involved arguments between the victim and the offender.
With a homicide rate of 50.64 per 100,000 residents, Missouri ranked the highest.
Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Louisiana, Kentucky, Arkansas, Michigan, and Oklahoma rounded out the top 10.
The authors said individuals living in communities where violence is prevalent are at higher risk for a broad range of negative health and behavior outcomes.
An increased understanding of how trauma resulting from community violence influences development, health, and behavior can lead to improvements in the way many social services are delivered as well as policy changes at the local and federal levels.
“At the same time, the firearms industry, looking to expand beyond its shrinking base of white male gun owners, has launched an organized marketing campaign focusing on Black and Latino Americans,” the study authors wrote.
“If successful, such efforts can only increase gun death and injury in these communities.”
The full study is available at http://vpc.org/studies/blackhomicide22.pdf.