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Handguns and Homicide in Urban Black Communities - A Spatial-Temporal Assessment of Environmental Scale Differences (From Homicide Among Black Americans, P 69-100, 1986, Darnell F Hawkins, ed. - See NCJ-105234)

NCJ Number
H M Rose; D R Deskins
Date Published
32 pages
Data from six urban areas (Atlanta, Detroit, St. Louis, Houston, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh) were obtained and analyzed to determine variations in the use of handguns for homicides in black communities according to region.
Data were obtained from the 1975 FBI monthly homicide reports for the six cities. This information described the weapon mix associated with the deaths of a 25-percent sample of black victims. A gun was the predominant weapon, ranging from a high of 88 percent in Atlanta to 76 percent in Detroit and Pittsburgh. This study examined patterns of weapon use at the neighborhood level, the homicide setting and choice of weapon, circumstances of the homicides (setting, time of day, and weekly cycle), handgun caliber and the victimization risk, the handgun market, and longitudinal variations among cities in the pattern of gun deaths. Clearly the easy availability of handguns has facilitated a sharp increase in the homicide rate in the Nation's larger black communities. Effective intervention strategies must control the epidemic of homicides in black communities. This study suggests some steps to consider in attempting to keep guns out of the hands of high-risk persons, in discouraging gun access in general, and in weakening the role of illicit gun traders as principal suppliers in selected black communities. Parameters that should accompany any promotion of weapons purchases for self-defense in high-crime neighborhoods are also suggested. 2 tables and 47 references.