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by Peter Moskos

January 26, 2009

Murder Factory

Now here's some good investigating journalism from Tony Rizzo and the Kansas City Star. Local zip code 64130 is featured in a series called "Murder Factory." These eight square miles were home to 101 convicted murderers incarcerated in Missouri prisons.


Dave H. said...

Most urban centers have these "murder factories." I know my town does. Not coincidently, these zipcodes tend to have the bulk of the open air drug markets, grinding poverty, and very little legit business activity.

As the U.S. has come to rely more on incarcertaion, it has become apparent to me that these neighborhoods are home to many who are "still on the inside." The prison culture (low impulse control, tribalism, use of violence as a primary form of communication,etc.) then influences those who haven't even gone to prison (yet)and sets the tone in the area.

Outside these relatively small murder zones, I would be willing to bet (though I don't have data available) that the U.S. murder rate is not much higher than rates in Western Europe. So what can we do, besides ending the drug war, to deal with our American war zones? To quote a picket sign I saw in footage of an old civil rights march: "Abolish ghettos!"

PCM said...

You know what's strange, you could abolish ghettos and America would still be more violent than Western Europe. We've always been a violent place, for all races economic groups.

But certainly if we could reduce or eliminate homicide in the most violent places, America would be much more in line with the rest of the "civilized" world.