KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri has the highest rate of Black homicide victims in the country, with neighboring Kansas coming in the top 10.
The Violence Policy Center released a study April 18 that looked at 2015 data submitted by local law enforcement agencies nationwide to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Kansas City Star reported.
The report said the homicide rate among African Americans in Missouri was 46.24 per 100,000. Kansas comes in at ninth, with a rate of 25.02 per 100,000 African Americans in 2015.
That year is the seventh time since 2005 that Missouri topped the rankings. It was the third time Kansas ranked in the top 10.
“I can’t figure why, I wish I could,” said Rosilyn Temple, who heads the local chapter of Mothers in Charge, a group working to draw attention to violent crime.
Temple’s son was killed in 2011 in a still-unsolved crime.
“It’s virtually every day” she said. “It’s babies and women. And no one wants to say anything. Why are we allowing people to murder anybody? We don’t have to like each other, but we have to respect each other.”
The national Black homicide rate in 2015 was 18.68 per 100,000. The rate for White homicide was 2.67.
Black residents represented 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2015, but they accounted for more than half of all homicide victims.
“The devastation homicide inflicts on Black teens and adults is a national crisis, yet it is all too often ignored outside of affected communities,” the report stated.
It cautioned that the results are only as reliable as the data submitted by law enforcement. The study also didn’t offer an explanation for differences among the states or races, but stressed the importance of focusing on gun violence prevention.
“For Black victims of homicide, like all victims of homicide, guns – usually handguns – are far and away the number-one murder tool,” the report stated. “Successful efforts to reduce America’s Black homicide toll, like America’s homicide toll as a whole, must put a focus on reducing access and exposure to firearms.”