California ranks ninth in the country for homicides of African-Americans. That's according to a study released today by the Violence Policy Center which shows the state's black homicide rate is four times higher than the national average. Most of the victims were shot to death.
“California, though it has comprehensive gun control laws, is at the mercy of other states that have more lax laws and guns are trafficked in to the state,” said Josh Sugarman, the study’s co-author and executive director of the Violence Policy Center. “Also, California has a gang problem and that issue does turn up in the data that we've looked at.”
Sugarman says 60 percent of the state’s homicides of black victims that were not committed in the act of another felony crime were between gang members.
“Now to be fair, that may be due in large part to the state’s reporting,” said Sugarman. “California is much more comprehensive in reporting gang involvements.”
The study relies on recently released figures from the Federal Bureau of Investigations for two thousand nine. That year, California had 548 black homicide victims at a rate of 22.3 per 100,000.
The report did not break down data by region.
Additional California Statistics:
Fifty-four homicide victims (10 percent) were less than 18 years old and 11 victims (2 percent) were 65 years of age or older. The average age was 30 years old.
Out of 548 homicide victims, 486 were male and 62 were female.
Most Common Weapons
For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 84 percent of victims (450 out of 537) were...killed with guns. Of these, 80 percent (361 victims) were killed with handguns. There were 67 victims killed with firearms, type not stated. There were 43 victims killed with knives or other cutting instruments, 22 victims killed by bodily force, and 17 victims killed by a blunt object.
For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 53 percent of victims (139 out of 260) were murdered by someone they knew. One hundred twenty-one victims were killed by strangers.
For homicides in which the circumstances could be identified, 74 percent (291 out of 391) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these, 31 percent (90 homicides) involved arguments between the victim and the offender.