Both violent and property crimes in the United States declined in 2007 from the previous year, the FBI reported Monday. But one expert warned the figures could mask a growing murder problem among young black men.How often have most of us either seen or heard this? Perhaps more likely we hear about black on black crime although that might often be between black males. That's not to say there isn't a problem.
In preliminary figures for crimes reported to police, the bureau said the number of violent crimes declined by 1.4 percent from 2006, reversing two years of rising violent crime numbers. Violent crime had climbed 1.9 percent in 2006 and 2.3 percent in 2005, alarming federal and local officials.
Property crimes were down 2.1 percent last year from the previous year, the largest drop in the last four years.
Because the FBI preliminary figures do not contain the detailed breakdowns by age, race and gender of the final report that comes later in the year, one expert, James Alan Fox, said they may unintentionally mask a growing murder rate among black male teenagers and young adults, particularly with guns.
"We shouldn't be fooled into thinking our problems are over," said Fox, a criminal justice professor at Northeastern University. Fox said that from 2002 to 2006, the rate of murder committed by black male teens rose 52 percent.
"Violence is down among whites of all ages and both genders; it's up among black males, not black females," Fox said. "When you blend all the national numbers together you fail to see this divergence. There are many more whites in the population, so their decline can dwarf the increase among young black males."
Fox said black males are "feeling the impact of the economic decline and an increase in gangs and illegal gun markets. Gangs and youth crime are a growing problem despite these rosy statistics."
As to a reason for why murders are up amongst black men the issue might always boil down to the economy. Although I could wonder if the insinuation in this excerpt is that when the economy goes down then black men start to engage in criminal activity. Either way there is a problem.