n this Nov. 20, 2014, photo, New Pittsburgh Courier associate editor Ashley Johnson, talks about the papers focus in recent editions of black on black violent crime. The Courier, an historic black newspaper, began a campaign with coverage of each homicide almost a decade ago because editors at the Courier simply felt black-on-black killings were not getting the attention they deserved. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

n this Nov. 20, 2014, photo, New Pittsburgh Courier associate editor Ashley Johnson, talks about the papers focus in recent editions of black on black violent crime. The Courier, an historic black newspaper, began a campaign with coverage of each homicide almost a decade ago because editors at the Courier simply felt black-on-black killings were not getting the attention they deserved. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

 

 

Results of an annual report released Jan. 13 by the Violence Policy Center, found that based on the homicide rates in 2012, the most recent year for which comprehensive national data is available, Pennsylvania yet again ranked fourth in the country for Black homicide victims with a rate of 31.02 per 100,000.

VPC’s study, Black Homicide Victimization in the United States: An Analysis of 2012 Homicide Data, ranks the states based on data from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report. VPC, a non-profit organization based in Washington D.C. that works to stop gun violence through research, advocacy and education.

“America’s gun violence epidemic affects everyone, but it has a disproportionate impact on black men and women,” Josh Sugarmann, the executive director of VPC, said in a release. “Gun violence destroys lives, tears families apart, and traumatizes entire communities — and too many elected officials have ignored this ongoing crisis. It is time for action.”

With a rate of 31.02, according to VPC, Pennsylvania was higher than the 2012 national Black homicide rate of 18.03 per 100,000 and the over national homicide rate of 4.50 per 100,000. Pennsylvania was proceeded by Missouri with a rate of 34.98 per 100,000; Nebraska with a rate of 34.93 per 100,000; and Michigan with a rate of 34.77 per 100,000.

Each of the four states’ Black homicide rates increased since 2011’s reported data. In 2011, Nebraska, Missouri then Michigan preceded Pennsylvania.

Nationally in 2012 there were more than 6,500 Black homicide victims. The state’s 452 were greatly comprised of Black homicides that took place in Philadelphia and the Greater Pittsburgh area. In 2012 there were 96 total homicides in Allegheny County, 78 of them were Black individuals.

This is the ninth year that the VPC has released this study and each Pennsylvania has ranked high on this list. The report released in 2010, based on data from 2007, ranked Pennsylvania as the top state for Black homicides with a rate of 36.36 per 100,000.

The report also found that 87 percent of Black homicides were committed by guns.

(To see the full study, visit http://www.vpc.org/studies/blackhomicides15pdf.)

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