Photo: Robert Nelson (Flickr)
The Violence Policy Center has ranked Indiana sixth highest in the nation for black homicide victimization rates.
Executive Director of Violence Policy Center, Josh Sugarmann, says after conducting the study for six years, gun violence is constantly the main cause of death. This year, 88 percent of the victims were killed by guns.
“And on the other hand, what’s most disturbing is that this is an ongoing crisis that is rarely addressed outside the very communities that are being affected,” Sugarmann says.
The study used unpublished data from the FBI’s 2009 Supplementary Homicide Report. Nine percent of all the victims were 18 years or younger. And Director of the Office of Diversity Education at Indiana University, Eric Love, says Hoosiers need to eliminate the culture of violence that leads to such crimes.
“We have to somehow instill in young black people, the value of life,” he says. “You know it’s like because of video games, and movies, and reality TV it’s just like there’s a mindset that this is just the way life is and we don’t seem to value a life.”
Sugarmann says Indiana’s black homicide rate is higher than the national average. But it’s lower than it has been in the past.