Violent crime down in city… Black stats not good

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The average homicide victim in 2010 was a 33–year-old Black male with four prior arrests, most likely shot on the North Side, in the Hill District or the East End with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol in the early morning hours of a Saturday in July.

The average shooter was a 29-year-old Black male with four prior arrests. The motive was likely retaliation. And according to the clearance-rate data, there is a 46 percent chance that he is still at large.

NateHarper
CHIEF NATE HARPER

This is just some of the data from the city’s 2010 Annual Report on crime, which begins with messages from Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Public Safety Director Michael Huss and police Chief Nate Harper touting the fifth consecutive year of declining Part 1 crimes, or violent crimes. Part 2 is property crime.

While homicides rose from 40 to 57 between 2009 and 2010, a 38.5-percent increase, there were also 99 more burglaries raising that total 3.5 percent to 2,910, and five more arsons, raising that total 3.4 percent to 151. The report also includes a 10-year average for homicides of 56, putting 2010 1.76 percent above the average. All other violent and property crime rates declined:

•Rape—down 43 percent to 66;

•Robbery—down 14 percent to 1,174;

•Aggravated Assault—down 4 percent to 1,503;

•Theft—down 7.7 percent to 7,508; and

•Vehicle Theft—down 15.3 percent to 703.

Both Huss and Harper thanked city residents for their increased cooperation with police, without which, they said, the reduction in crime would not have been possible.

“It is imperative that we continue to work together to nurture this partnership,” said Harper. “The bureau relies on members of our communities to assist us in fighting crime by providing another set of eyes and ears when suspicious or illegal activity is observed.”

El Gray, outreach worker for One Vision One Life, which as part of PIRC proactively tries to calm street-level disputes before they result in shootings, said while the crime numbers going down are great, it hasn’t translated into fewer shootings.

“This is just my opinion, but every time I see the news I see some one getting shot—and it’s the same communities being traumatized,” he said. “What we do is something that can’t be quantified, but families will say we’ve prevented shootings. So giving up is not an option for us because the nieces and nephews of these are still out here in the community and vulnerable.”

The 2010 report is far more detailed than past efforts, which Harper noted is part of the bureau’s attempt to be more transparent. There are sections not directly related to crime, but useful as a resource, such as the race and gender breakdown of bureau personnel by position.

The report also notes the bureau’s attempts at increasing efficiency and highlights the PIRC anti-gun violence program, which began operations in July 2010—and which just conducted a raid against Hill District gang members May 27 garnering 8 arrests.

And “arrests” is a category the report indicates is also dominated by African-Americans. For Part 1 crimes, Black males were arrest twice as often as White males, leading every category.

The only crimes for which White males were arrested more than Blacks were “Drunken Driving”—418 out of 818, “Public Intoxication”—334 out of 576, “Disorderly Conduct”—313 out of 742, “Other”—799 out of 1,936, and “Other Sex Crimes”—52 out of 98.

And though more White Males, 12, were arrested than Black Males, 6, for “Family Violence,” Black Females led that category with 26 arrests out of the total 58.

(Send comments to cmorrow@newpittsburghcourier.com.)

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