Group calls Michigan's African-American homicide rate a public health crisis

Jan 26, 2014

African-Americans in Michigan are murdered at one of the highest rates in the nation. That's according to a study from the Violence Policy Center.

The Center says 31 of every 100,000 black Michiganders was a homicide victim in 2011. That's twice the national rate for blacks and seven times the rate for Americans overall.

Josh Sugarmann is the Center's executive director. He says this is part of a public health crisis in America.

“The key goal of this study is to focus public attention on the public health crisis that's occurring in black America,” says Sugarmann, “There's a homicide victimization rate that is shocking, that if it applied to the nation as a whole, you'd hear an outcry from coast to coast.”

Sugarmann says the violence is rarely addressed outside of the affected communities.

Eighty-five percent of the murder victims in Michigan were killed with guns.