The homicide rate continues to rise in Chicago, New York, and Baltimore. Is the increase related to the hot weather or are the police running out of new strategies? Some police officials say we need stricter gun laws, but New York already has some of the stiffest penalties for illegal gun possession.
Is it all about the guns or the thinking? Some Public Health programs suggest that violence spreads like an infectious disease, but nine times out of ten, many different races kill one another. If violence spreads like an infectious disease, then why doesn't it transfer from culture to another culture like HIV, Tuberculosis and Ebola? This is really something to think about when you research violence prevention programs.
The Broken Window Theory was hailed as a successful model to help reduce crime in New York, but now there is a need for a new model to keep up with the changing trends in violence in major cities across the United States.
All of these theories and approaches are experimental. You cannot experiment with violence reduction strategies because there is no room for margin of error. For example, Professor David Kennedy from John Jay College came up with the community pressure approach which identifies the most high risk individual and pressure is placed on that person, family members and friends in order to reduce violence. This particular strategy was also viewed as a best practice, but lately the strategy isn't working.
Let's get down to the real meat and potatoes as it relates to reducing homicides. First and foremost, most of the violence prevention programs and the police show up after the crime has been committed. No one really talks about killing another person. It just happens. You cannot police what you cannot see coming. Additionally, some of the high risk youth live by a serious code of the streets that dictates absolute silence when it comes down to shooting and killing. The majority of homicides that occur in Baltimore, New York and Chicago take place in the African American community. The police are not in a position to reduce killings in this community.
Black Leadership should not be let off the hook when young African American men are running rampant in the streets and killing one another. The police continue to get a bad rap because the majority of law abiding citizens believe that the police should be able to stop the killing. The killing will not stop in the African American community until the men in the community stand up and address this issue on a higher level. This will be a major task and worthwhile in order to stop the killing once and for all. We can always organize good press conferences or march after the fact, but what can we do to prevent the next act of violence from occurring in the first place?
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