In America, crimes are committed every second of the day and the victims of these crimes include people of all races, ethnicities, religions, genders, and sexual orientations. One unfortunate trend in crime rates is black on black crime. These types of stories don’t typically make the mainstream news, since they are not polarizing or attention grabbing. But many predominately African American neighborhoods have high crime rates, and the victims are other African Americans. The reasons behind this are complicated, deep-rooted, and not easy to solve.
Living in poverty is stressful for everyone involved, from adults to children. 27.4% of African Americans in America live in poverty; 45.8% of African American children under the age of six live at or below the poverty line. The psychological impact of living in poverty can be intense, and the natural response can be to try to find a way to obtain resources that one needs. When a person has limited funds he or she may resort to crime, and the victim will often be a person who lives in the same community.
In this day and age a nuclear family with a mother, father, and biological children isn’t always the norm, but African American children are most likely to grow up without their biological father in their life. The most recent studies show that 57.6% of African American children do not have a stable relationship with their biological father. While the lack of a father figure is problematic for both male and female African Americans, it may be a contributing factor for young African American men to turn to a life of crime because they never had a strong male role model, no matter how well their mothers raised them.
Many young African American men living in poverty seek the guidance of other black men in their neighborhoods due to the absence of a strong father figure. Unfortunately, many African American neighborhoods have been infiltrated with gang activity, and gang life can be attractive to a young black man who doesn’t think that he has other options.
Gang life is violent, and typically filled with hate towards rival gang members. In addition, it is not uncommon for gangs to sell drugs to make money, and intruding on another gang’s territory can result in violence. Selling illegal drugs can be very lucrative, so it is not uncommon for crime and violence to erupt in predominantly African American neighborhoods where these activities occur.
Black on Black Crime Statistics
When it comes to serious violent crimes, such as homicide, African Americans have a higher likelihood of being a victim. While African Americans make up approximately 13% of the population in the United States, they account for approximately 49% of all homicide victims. Reports show that 93% of African Americans murdered were killed by other African Americans. Young African American men are at the greatest risk for committing or being a victim of black on black violence.
Keys to Reducing the Incidences of Black on Black Crime in the Future
Members of predominately black communities that have high crime rates are not ignoring the problem. Many community leaders are working with schools, churches, and other community organizations to help educate and empower black youths to help them realize their value and choose a life path that does not involve violence or crime.
Many urban areas with high rates of black on black crime have dedicated gang task forces to help deal with powerful gangs and the violent lifestyle that many gang members live on a day to day basis. Gang activity and the violence associated with it is a serious problem, and many believe that black on black violence could be greatly reduced if African American youths felt like they had other opportunities and options.
Education may be one of the biggest keys in reducing black on black violence. Many schools in urban areas with high crime rates are seriously under-funded, which can result in lower quality teachers and fewer resources for students. Doing well in school and paving the path for a higher education is essential for kids of all races; if more young African Americans had access to a better education they would have the tools to fulfill their dreams and turn their back on violence or crime against others in their community.