Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Trauma and Violence in the Lives of Young Black Men (by John A. Rich) (from NPR)
Posted by FriedaBatLMvH at 5:15 PM
Posted by FriedaBatLMvH at 5:02 PM
Saturday, September 5, 2015
A few weeks ago, a friend from Chester started talking about the level of gun violence in Chester. These young men--who grew up together -- who went to school together-- are killing each other -- not one will be left alive, she said. Guns are flooding the city. The work HGC is doing to raise awareness of the costs of gun violence and reduce straw sales, nothing seems to be having much effect.
I didn't know what to reply. Then (ever academic) I thought; at least I could get better acquainted with the literature.
David M. Kennedy, a self-taught criminologist, was a Swarthmore grad, received an honorary degree from Swarthmore, and has taught at the Lang center (at Swarthmore). He directs the National Network for Safe Communities.
Below are excerpts from an interview on Fresh Air:
Those neighborhoods are also more likely to be deadly for African-American men — and they're getting worse, says Kennedy, citing grim statistics: Between 2000 and 2007, the gun homicide rate for black men between the ages of 14-17 increased by 40 percent. The rate for men over the age of 25 increased by 27 percent. In some neighborhoods, 1 in 200 black men are murdered every year.
"This is where the worst open-air drug markets are all concentrated," he says. "And quite naturally, law enforcement pays an awful lot of attention to those neighborhoods. ... And the shorthand that you get from cops when you look at these communities is that they look at you and say, 'There is no community left.' "
But there are plenty of law-abiding residents in these neighborhoods that have been overtaken by drugs, says Kennedy. They outnumber the gang members and drug dealers by significant percentages.
"What matters is that these offenders are in the communities in groups," he says. "They are in gangs, they are in drug crews, they are in chaotic groups. And those groups drive the action to a shocking degree."
In Cincinnati, for example, there are about 60 defined gang groups with about 1,500 members.
"[The people] representing less than half a percentage point of the city's population are associated with 75 percent of all of Cincinnati's killings," he says. "And no matter where you go, that's the fact."
The national homicide rate is now about 4 per 100,000, but the homicide rate for members of gangs and neighborhood turf groups is dramatically higher: as many as 3,000 per 100,000 a year.
"It is incredibly dangerous," says Kennedy. "If you talk to these guys, what they say is, 'I'm terrified ... I got shot ... My brother's dead ... I've been shot at ... And they are trying to shoot me ...' That [is] their everyday world."
Kennedy's homicide-reduction program, called Operation Ceasefire, brought gang members into meetings with community members they respected, social services representatives who could help them, and law enforcement officials who told them that they didn't want to make arrests — they wanted the gang members to stay alive, and that they planned to aggressively target people who retaliated. The interventions worked to reduce the homicide rates.
"In city after city, what we see is you may have to do it once or twice, but as soon as the streets believe that that's what's going to happen, they change," says Kennedy. "In the summer of 1996, just a few months after we implemented this, the streets had quieted down dramatically, and they kept getting better."
A variation of Operation Ceasefire was also implemented to shut down open-air drug markets. Instead of arresting drug dealers, the police officers and Kennedy set up meetings with drug dealers — and their mothers.
"We said, 'Your son is at a turning point. He could be arrested right this minute, but we don't want to do that. We understand how much that damages him and his community. There's going to be a meeting in a week. Please come with your son to the meeting,'" he says.
Nearly everybody came. In the meeting, the police reiterated what they had said in previous meetings with gang members: that they wanted the drug dealers to stay alive and out of jail. They also warned that the consequences of not shutting down the drug markets would be severe. In High Point, N.C., where the program was piloted, the open-air drug market disappeared.
"You do one of these meetings ... [and] you can break the cycle in these neighborhoods literally overnight," he says. "All that craziness is gone."
to read more, click here.
Posted by FriedaBatLMvH at 5:45 AM