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by Peter Moskos

February 19, 2011

The Racial Reality

Using the Baltimore Sun's fun interactive homicide chart, these are the sad and politically incorrect totals for 2010:

223 homicides: 202 black (91%), 13 white, 5 Hispanic, 1 Asian, 2 unknown(?).

Overall, the 2009 population of Baltimore is estimated to be 63% African American and 33% white. So roughly, the black homicide rate (50) is eight times the white homicide rate (6.2 -- which isn't that much higher than the national average of 5.4 per 100,000).

Is there a moral? I don't know, but certainly we can do better. It's also clear you can't talk about this homicide problem without talking about race, and people don't want to talk about race. Merely broaching the subject can get you labeled as racist. Who wants that? And hell, why should you care? It's just "them" killing each other, right? And maybe you, no matter your race, moved out of the city a long time ago precisely to get away from this problem. It's certainly an understandable reaction. But it's not part of the solution.

Unless we do something major in terms of changing our drug policy, investing in police, and yes, even spending money on job creation, the killings will continue. These are choices we make. And mostly we choose to do nothing. So the killings continue.

This isn't a local problem; it's a national disgrace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Public safety will be the last to get cut(budget-wise) and it "supposed" to be the most important to the "society".
However, public safety would be the last to get a make-over or reform because our "society" is very diverse. Simply say that the "society" is operated by the very few and powerful people such as politicians and filthy rich people/corporations. Therefore, public safety won't reform and crime pattern is not going to change easily before a crucial change in the economic landscape.

In my opinion, economic reform is the first to start in order for big change in law enforcement. In the long run I think that a lot of public service including law enforcement would be privatize or even computerize(RoboCop?) In short or near future, our great GOP is trying to reform the pension system for government employees across the country and unfortunately this is just the beginning. Is the US following Greece's footsteps?