The demographics of our city’s homicide victims are shifting this year. To date, Kansas City has had 66 homicides in 2013. Only 25 percent of those victims have been younger than 25. This is very unusual, as young, black men typically comprise the bulk of our homicide victims. Black men still make up 61 percent of this year’s homicide victims, but they’re older. Consider the following statistics from previous years about the percentage of homicide victims who were younger than 25:
- 41% in 2012
- 33% in 2011
- 48% in 2010
You can see the full break down of year-to-date homicide statistics here. I don’t have an explanation for why the city’s homicide victims are getting older, but I do have a little hope. My hope is the younger generation is beginning to turn the corner – that they’re valuing life more and staying away from the high-risk lifestyles that lead to violence. I also hope they’re learning to manage their anger better. Of the known motives for homicide this year and every year, arguments are No. 1.
I ask for the community to continue building up our city’s youth. We’re doing everything we can to reduce violence, but police can’t instill the value of human life in children. That’s up to parents, families, neighbors, and the faith community. Encourage them to solve their problems without guns, and direct them on paths that improve their city. Talk about how important education is. As these pieces fall into place, we will see not just the homicide rate for youth drop, but fewer slayings overall.
You can read more about this trend in this Kansas City Star article from last month.
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