Raleigh’s racial and youth disparities in gun violence

WNCN reports on Raleigh police’s efforts to fight increasing gun violence in North Carolina’s capital city:

Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown said last week she aims to reduce the number of shootings in the city by 10 percent by next June.

She followed that up with a report Friday that gives additional details on her strategy for accomplishing that.

You can view that here.

In the report she noted that the city averaged 1,610 violent crimes in the last three years. Of those crimes, 38 percent involved the use of a firearm.

The new gun violence reduction strategy includes three areas: additional training and education for officers, community engagement and “intelligence-driven analysis” of crimes involving firearms.

Raleigh police are also seeking more officers on patrol. The city has grown by 15 percent over the past eight years, while the number of sworn officers has grown only by 3 percent.

Victims and suspects of gun violence in Raleigh: Mostly young, predominantly black

Here are charts from the report.


Those charts show a disheartening problem.

  • Most of the gun violence victims in Raleigh from 2015 to 2017 are young (half of them under the age of 25; 80 percent, under 35) and black (75 percent).
  • Most of the gun violence suspects in Raleigh from 2015 to 2017 are young (two-thirds under the age of 25; 90 percent, under 35) and black (68 percent).
  • Blacks are victims in gun violence at a rate 7.5 times higher than whites
  • Blacks are suspects in gun violence at a rate 17 times higher than whites

This kind of disparity is not unique to Raleigh; in fact, it is in keeping with the rest of the state. As reported by North Carolina Health News:

State data obtained by North Carolina Health News confirmed the disparity. In fact, black residents ages 20 to 29 died from firearm assaults at seven times the rate of other North Carolinians in recent years.…

Between 2006 and 2015, 58 percent of the 3,992 people who died from gun assaults in North Carolina were black, according to state data. Only 22 percent of the state’s population is African American.

More than half of the 2,328 African Americans killed with guns during that period were younger than 30. And that racial disparity holds for firearm assaults.

Racial data is not collected for every person treated in a hospital for a gunshot wound in this state. But the state’s 14 trauma centers tallied data on their 3,305 firearm assault patients between 2013 and 2017; 74 percent of those patients were black.

Black men in North Carolina ages 20 to 29 are killed by gun violence at eight times the rate of all other men of that age combined. Source: North Carolina Violent Death Reporting System. Analysis by Injury Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, Injury Violence and Prevention Branch, North Carolina Division of Public Health.
Source: North Carolina Health News

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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