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Public Health Rep. 1989 Nov-Dec;104(6):605-8.

Black-on-black homicide: Kansas City's response.

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Kansas City, MO, Health Department 64106.


In many metropolitan areas, homicide continues to be the scourge of black Americans despite increasing awareness of the overrepresentation of blacks among victims and perpetrators. The risk of being a homicide victim among black males is so high that the Department of Health and Human Services has set a priority of reducing the risk to 60 per 100,000 by 1990. The recent escalation in the number of homicides in the United States associated with drugs makes attainment of that goal unlikely. In Kansas City, a black community grassroots organization, the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, commissioned a multidisciplinary task force to study black-on-black homicide in 1986. The report generated by this task force identified factors placing Kansas Citians at high risk of being homicide victims or perpetrators, including being black, male, unemployed, between the ages 17-29, a high school nongraduate, frequently involved in or around violence, and having prior arrests on weapons charges. One hundred recommendations were made, of which 12 were targeted for immediate implementation. These included increasing public awareness of the incidence of black-on-black homicide, involvement of black men in role model programs for young black males, training in anger control and alternatives to violence for those identified as being at high risk for homicide, and providing a role for ex-offenders in violence prevention. Working with community organizations has inherent strengths and weaknesses for public health workers. However, such a group can successfully impact the affected community in ways which would be difficult for traditional resources.

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