Murder is Infectious
Two researchers from Michigan State University are researching murder patterns in Newark, and looking at the spread of murder much as an epidemiologist would look at the spread of disease. From an article on the research in the Newark Star-Ledger:
The paper also shows homicide clusters existed before clusters of gangs or an influx of firearms.
“What it really tells us is that firearms and gangs are not the only sources of this homicide infection,” Zeoli said. “There was something there before.”
The two said their paper is the first step in a long-term project, which they hope will shed light on the causes and prevention of violence in Newark.
“What, ideally, we would like to do is get back to before the race riots and almost get to case zero,” Pizarro said.
A culture acclimated to criminal behavior has the groundwork in place for crime to easily occur. Just for fun I wanted to find out a bit about historical murder rates for whites and blacks. From a 1997 In These Times article:
African-Americans have, of course, always suffered disproportionately from crime. As pioneering black scholars W.E.B. DuBois, E. Franklin Frazier and Charles Johnson showed, this disparity is attributable to racist institutions and the legacy of slavery. University of Arizona political scientist James Clarke wrote recently in Society magazine that the black homicide rate in Chicago in 1925 was 103 deaths per 100,000 persons, compared to 11 per 100,000 among whites—and this was during the period when Chicago was earning a reputation for organized white gangsterism. “In Cincinnati,” Clarke continued, “the black rate was 190 per 100,000; in East St. Louis it was 229; in Miami it was a staggering 276. … In New York … black homicide rates were 12 times the white rates.”