10 yr. report by Prof. James Alan Fox, Ph.D. Northeastern Univ.
Summary of Findings
While overall homicide levels in the United States have fluctuated minimally in
recent years, those involving young victims and perpetrators—particularly young
black males—have surged.
From 2002 to 2007, the number of homicides involving black male juveniles as
victims rose by 31% and as perpetrators by 43%. In terms of gun killings
involving this same population subgroup, the increases were even more
pronounced: 54% for young black male victims and 47% for young black male
The increase in homicide among black youth, coupled with a smaller increase or
even decrease among their white counterparts, was consistently true for every
region of the country and nearly all population groupings of cities. The pattern
also held individually for a majority of states and major cities.
After some decline during the 1990s, the percentage of homicides that involve a
gun has increased since 2000, both among young white offenders and black
offenders of all age ranges. The percentage of gun homicides for young black
offenders has reached nearly 85%. These trends are concomitant with various
legislative initiatives at the federal level that have lessened the extent of
surveillance on illegal gun markets.
Time-of-day patterns of violent crime victimization for youngsters, ages 6-17,
reveal clear differences between school days and out-of-school periods. On
school days, the risk spikes during the after-school hours—the primetime for
juvenile crime—while the late evening hours are most problematic on non-school
days, particularly summertime weekends.
Future demographics suggest that the concern for at-risk youth should increase
over the next decade. The number of black and Hispanic children should
continue to expand, contrasting with the rather limited increase expected among
Caucasian children. There is a significant need for reinvestment in children and
families—in essence an at-risk youth bailout during these difficult economic
Federal support for policing and youth violence prevention has declined sharply
in recent years, perhaps precipitated by complacency brought about by the
significant 1990s decline in crime. The resurgence in homicide, especially among
minority youth, signals the importance of restoring federal funds for crime
prevention and crime control.
Download the Complete Report:
The Recent Surge in Homicides involving Young Black Males and Guns (PDF)