Black homicide victim numbers in Michigan make third highest - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Black homicide victim numbers in Michigan make third highest rate in US

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MICHIGAN (WJRT) -

(01/24/14) -  A new report is shedding light on violent crime in the state. According to the Washington D.C. based Violence Policy Center, black people in Michigan are seven times more likely than anyone to become a homicide victim.

The report was released this week. The Saginaw Branch of the NAACP says it should spark action in everyone.

According to the Violence Policy Center, Michigan falls at number three among states with the highest black homicide victim rate. Missouri is number two and Nebraska is number one.

The rankings where made by the center after analyzing data that the FBI collects from local law enforcement agencies. The statistics are based on the most current information from 2011.

According to the center's findings, Michigan reported 447 African American murders in 2011. The majority of the deaths are a result of gun violence.

It's the second year in a row that Michigan has ranked third in the study. The center's executive director, Josh Sugarmann, calls the gun violence a public health crisis, and he says something has to be done now to fix the problem.

"Unfortunately this issue is not receiving the attention that it deserves from policy makers, and one goal of this study is to focus attention on this public health crisis, which hopefully will lead to action, and we hope it acts as a tool for policy makers, activist and for communities," Sugarmann said.

Leola Wilson, president of the Saginaw Branch of the NAACP believes the problems stem from lack of opportunities.

"It gets back to the problems that we have in the state that have existed for the past few years they deal with economics, with education, and with job opportunities especially diversification in jobs," Wilson said.

The NAACP believes the numbers should concern everyone.

"I truly believe if this situation existed in a lot of communities outside of the African American community it would be declared a national emergency," said Carl Williams, third vice president of the Saginaw Branch of the NAACP.

The local organization is calling for more involvement to keep the community safe and ensure everyone has a fighting chance at life.

"We need to do whatever we can, understanding it might not affect you today, but it will eventually affect you if we do not resolve it," Williams said.

To view the full report click HERE.

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