Violent Crime Rising Sharply in Some Cities

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Feb 12, 2006.

  1. February 12, 2006
    Violent Crime Rising Sharply in Some Cities

    MILWAUKEE — One woman here killed a friend after they argued over a brown silk dress. A man killed a neighbor whose 10-year-old son had mistakenly used his dish soap. Two men argued over a cellphone, and pulling out their guns, the police say, killed a 13-year-old girl in the crossfire.

    While violent crime has been at historic lows nationwide and in cities like New York, Miami and Los Angeles, it is rising sharply here and in many other places across the country.

    And while such crime in the 1990's was characterized by battles over gangs and drug turf, the police say the current rise in homicides has been set off by something more bewildering: petty disputes that hardly seem the stuff of fistfights, much less gunfire or stabbings.

    Suspects tell the police they killed someone who "disrespected" them or a family member, or someone who was "mean mugging" them, which the police loosely translate as giving a dirty look. And more weapons are on the streets, giving people a way to act on their anger.

    Police Chief Nannette H. Hegerty of Milwaukee calls it "the rage thing."

    "We're seeing a very angry population, and they don't go to fists anymore, they go right to guns," she said. "A police department can have an effect on drugs or gangs. But two people arguing in a home, how does the police department go in and stop that?"

    Here in Milwaukee, where homicides jumped from 88 in 2004 to 122 last year, the number classified as arguments rose to 45 from 17, making up by far the largest category of killings, as gang and drug murders declined.

    In Houston, where homicides rose 24 percent last year, disputes were by far the largest category, 113 out of 336 killings. Officials were alarmed by the increase in murders well before Hurricane Katrina swelled the city's population by 150,000 people in September; the police say 18 homicides were related to evacuees.

    In Philadelphia, where 380 homicides made 2005 the deadliest year since 1997, 208 were disputes; drug-related killings, which accounted for about 40 percent of homicides during the high-crime period of the early 1990's, accounted for just 13 percent.

    "When we ask, 'Why did you shoot this guy?' it's, 'He bumped into me,' 'He looked at my girl the wrong way,' " said Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson of Philadelphia. "It's not like they're riding around doing drive-by shootings. It's arguments — stupid arguments over stupid things."

    The police say the suspects and the victims tend to be black, young — midteens to mid-20's — and have previous criminal records. They tend to know each other. Several cities said that domestic violence had also risen. And the murders tend to be limited to particular neighborhoods. Downtown Milwaukee has not had a homicide in about five years, but in largely black neighborhoods on the north side, murders rose from 57 in 2004 to 94 last year.

    "We're not talking about a city, we're talking about this subpopulation, that's what drives everything," said David M. Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. "When they calm down, all the numbers go down. When they heat up, all the numbers go up. They hurt each other over personal stuff. It's respect and disrespect, and it's girls."

    While arguments have always made up a large number of homicides, the police say the trigger point now comes faster.

    "Traditionally, you could see the beef growing and maybe hitting the volatile point," said Daniel Coleman, the commander of the homicide unit in Boston. "Now we see these things, they're flashes, they're very unpredictable. Even five years ago, in what started as a fight or dispute, maybe you'd have a knife shown. Now it's an automatic default to a firearm."

    In robberies, Milwaukee's Chief Hegerty said, "even after the person gives up, the guy with the gun shoots him anyway. We didn't have as much of that before."

    Homicide rates are driven by different factors in each city, but even cities whose rates have fallen have seen problems with disputes, though those disputes are often about drugs or gangs. "As the murder universe continues to shrink in New York, the common denominators remain consistent," said Police Department Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne. "In most instances, killers and victims knew each other, each had criminal records, and they were engaged in disputes, usually over narcotics."
  2. EC1


    As I understand, 2000 was the lowest in 40 years in terms of murders, then it rose a bit, then went down in 2005.

    Fluctuations are bound to happen, can't go down forever.

    Doesn't mean to say that we should be complacent about this. US murder rate is still higher than most countries in the world.
  3. I speculate that if we continue to see the rise of poverty the way we have during the Bush years, we will see more and more violent crimes.

  4. EC1


    Middle East could be the new Vietnam, and we know what happened then (crimerate after the conflict)
    History goes in circles...

    I hope not though.
    And anyway, none of those cities mentioned have a terribly high murder number. I mean, Glasgow probably beats them all .:D
  5. Pabst


    I speculate that you're spewing exploitative idiocy. How do you know if poverty is directly linked to murder? It's just as possible that those who possess the psychological/emotional attributes to commit crime just as easily lack the attributes needed to be functional members of society. Do you even know if those who commit the bulk of violent crime, young blacks, are in better or worse shape economically then under past administrations? Which begs, do you know jack shit about anything? Or are you just a shallow pseudo-intellect living in lilly white, affluent suburban San Diego without an iota of experience.

    Why do Mexicans who flee to the States in abject poverty commit about one quarter the per capita violent crimes as do African-Americans?
  6. Mexicans are coming from a worse situation in Mexico to a better situation in America, and are filled with hope, not frustrations.

    Those who have been here, who are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet develop frustration at the trends.

    My speculation stands, we shall see.

    Most of your diatribe stands on it own as further confirmation of your crudity....

    Pabst, you really are like a raw nerve....or are you drinking early on Sunday again?

  7. Ricter


    Don't fault him for that, it's after noon for most of the nation--normal men are drinkin'.

    Psshhtt! *toastsPtabs*
  8. Pabst


    There's millions of Mexicans who were born in America over the past two decades. Why are those teenagers, the sons of domestics, gardeners, janitors and factory workers not committing equal numbers of crimes as blacks? Clearly the reasons have more to do with family structure then George Bush.

    Over the past three decades violent crime rates have tumbled while economic disparities have widened. This is called no-correlation. I've lived 4 decades within 70 miles of Milwaukee. Wisconsin attracted many Chicago blacks because of liberal welfare requirements, a plethora of low skill jobs and a downright cheap cost of living. Wisconsin boasts, for it's small size, the most extensive state university system in the nation. On top of it Milwaukee even has a successful school voucher system. Yet crime rates among blacks sizzle, directly counter to national trends. Wisconsin is every bit a "peoples republic" as is California. So once again, WTF does GWB have to do with the spike in Milwaukee crime?
  9. Hmmm, ZZZzzzzzz attends AA meetings and accuses Pabst of regularly imbibing alcohol.

    Brilliant! Brilliant!
  10. Uhhhh....quote exactly where I said the spike in crime in Milwaukee is due to GWB.

    Oh, and I suggest you do some research about the demographics of crime in California....

    "The vast majority of homicide victims remain African American, and that's where police continue putting most of their resources. But even as Oakland and San Francisco saw the number of homicides among blacks dwindle last year, the number among Latinos climbed enough to push the overall number of homicides higher than in 2004, police said."

    #10     Feb 12, 2006