An annual study released on Wednesday revealed that Missouri leads the nation in the highest homicide rates for African Americans for the second year in a row. The study, performed by the Violence Policy Center in Washington, has placed the state at the top of the list three times in the past five years.
The study was conducted using data collected in 2009, which did not include the state of Florida and just a small portion of data from Illinois. The startling findings from the Center report suggests that Missouri’s rate of 34.72 homicides per 100,000 Black residents nearly doubles the overall national rate of 17.90. For whites, a paltry 2.92 homicide rate exists nationwide.
The study’s dubious numbers aside, Missouri has seen a drop in homicide numbers, reports the Kansas City Star. The murder rate for Black Missourians last year was 39.90. Within the St. Louis city borders alone, 125 of the 143 murders that occurred involved African Americans.
Professor of criminology Toya Like stated in the Star report that Missouri’s problems most likely stem from a late trickling down of drug and gang-related violence that was born during the explosion of crack cocaine that ravaged cities, such as Washington and New York in the ’80s:
That increase happened a little later here, said Like. That’s the most feasible explanation for these numbers.
According to the Violence Policy Center, the top 10 states with the highest homicide rates are Michigan, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Indiana, Tennessee, Wisconsin, California, and Nevada.