Black males are 53% of 2006 homicide victims - but only 12% of population in Marion County, Indiana
Homicide victims in Marion County are disproportionately black males. They're young. And most of them die from gunshot wounds.
An examination of police records shows more than half of the 93 homicide victims this year were black males -- 49 -- even though they account for 12 percent of the population.
Of those, 18 were ages 20 to 29.
In comparison, white males have been victims of 13 homicides this year.
Overall, 79 of the victims -- 85 percent -- died from gunshot wounds. Three motives accounted for 44 of the homicides, records show: arguments, domestic abuse and robberies. The motive is listed as unknown for 34 other killings.
A drastic increase in killings -- 13 victims since Aug. 2 -- has drawn calls for action from local leaders and a request for a $54 million increase for public safety in next year's city-county budget.
The reasons for the surge are difficult to pinpoint, but many blame societal problems of poverty, drug abuse, bad parenting and easy access to guns. Others point to the early releases of inmates from the crowded Marion County Jail.
On Tuesday, 39-year-old Eric Taylor became the latest black male to be slain. Taylor was stabbed to death in a Far-Eastside apartment at 12:40 a.m. The circumstances were still unclear late Tuesday, and the Marion County Sheriff's Department wanted to question a 23-year-old man who lives in the apartment. Just hours before, police found another black male, 17-year-old Destin Davidson, slain in an alley in the 4700 block of Caroline and Hillside avenues on the Northside.
City-County Council President Monroe Gray says it's time for citizens, especially blacks, to take charge and reach youths before they end up in trouble with the law.
"We need to do something in the beginning . . . to keep kids out of the system," Gray said. "This is an ongoing problem for the African-American community. Somewhere along the line, the African-American community has to step up and take responsibility."
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