CAN WE IMPROVE PUBLIC SAFETY THROUGH THE POWER OF HIP-HOP?
By Charles and Randy Fisher @HHSYC
This year we are celebrating the 40th year anniversary of the birth of Hip-Hop; the 25th year anniversary of the Source Magazine; the 30th year anniversary of Video Music Box; and the 20th year anniversary of Hot 97 Radio’s Summer Jams concert. WHAT A YEAR! Each has played a major role in the development of the greatest international cultural phenomena ever created. Hip-Hop transcends race, religion, culture and ethnic backgrounds. It is the lifestyle of choice for millions of youth and young adults worldwide. The question is how can we take all this energy and make a difference in communities here in the U.S. and abroad?
Now that Hip-Hop is taking on the task of being “socially responsible” by using its power and resources to end Gun & Gang Violence we have to have a better understanding of just what we are up against. It is truly a jungle out there and to be successful we must do our homework. Yes this is a tremendous hurdle to leap, but so was the reform of the Rockefeller Drug laws, which Hip-Hop played a role in achieving thanks in part to a movement spearheaded by Russell Simmons and Dr. Ben Chavis. After the culture was created every decade or so they would say that it will soon be over. But like the stars at night, the art form keeps on shining with “New and Brighter Stars” being born every day. So put on your seat belts and prepare for the challenge that will help make this a better and safer country for all citizens. To accomplish this goal, Hip-Hop needs your support and here are the “Keep it Real” facts why.
- – Blacks are 66% of all violent crime suspects according to the victims of and witnesses to those crimes. Blacks and Hispanics made up 96% of all New York shooting victims and 90% of murder victims in 2011 so a drop in shootings will equate to fewer minorities being killed.
- Blacks commit around 70% of all robberies and about 80% of all shootings in the city. Add Hispanic shooters, and you account for 98% of all shootings in the city. Whites, by contrast, were 5% of all violent crime suspects in 2011 and according to victim and witness reports, commit barely over 1% of all shootings and less than 5% of robberies.
- In 2011 1 in 5 murders in the city occurred in or on the grounds of public housing; 1 in 5 shootings and 1 in every 4 guns were seized there also. Teen gangs share “community” guns hiding weapons behind a trash compactor one day and camouflaging in a leaf pile the next. Finding these weapons is the top priority.
- The Daily News revealed that crime increased 26% in Brooklyn and Queens NYC Housing Developments between 2010 and 2012. Staten Island was even worse with a 31% jump. Overall, the city’s 334 developments registered a 14% jump in crime during that same period, coupled with a 5% rise in crime citywide, the records show.
- The average family income in the public housing is just over $20,000, almost 2 and a half times lower than the city median income for 2010 and according to city data, 53% of the households have no one who is employed.
- New York once again is the safest big city in the country and safer than it’s been in a half-century. Crime has dropped in the decade Bloomberg has been in office with the lowest number since reliable records were kept starting in 1963. There were 419 killings last year smashing the record low of 471 in 2009. The numbers are down 18% from 2011 and a remarkable 80% compared with the bad old days of the early 1990’s where in 1990 we had an all-time high of 2,245 killings. There are fewer cops on the streets than a decade ago, and yet the numbers keep going down thanks to good law enforcement, community policing and gun violence prevention projects.
- Chicago had a 17% increase in murders in 2012, with 500 murders last year, with a population of 2.7 million citizens compared to 8.2 million citizens and 418 murders in NYC.
- There are 33,000 gun deaths every year in America, including about 19,000 suicides and many of them are children – every parent’s nightmare. In NYC the suicide rate is less than half the national average because of tough gun laws.
- 33 people a day are killed in the United States with guns and over 40 people commit suicide with guns every single day. Nationally, 51% of suicides are by gun. In New York City, it is only 16% of our suicides. In one year on average, almost 100,000 people in America are shot or killed with a gun.
- Over a million people have been killed with guns in the United States since 1968 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. The rate of firearms homicides in America is 20 times higher than it is in other economically advanced nations.
- Higher household gun ownership correlates with higher rates of homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings.
- Gun violence impacts society in: medical costs, the criminal justice system, security precautions, and reductions in quality of life from fear of gun violence. It’s estimated these impacts cost U.S. citizens $100 billion annually.
- Did you know that where there are more guns there are more gun deaths?
- The percentage of “Young Americans” who said they had no religious affiliation (pollsters refer to this group as the “nones”) has skyrocketed to between 30-40% among Americans. They have lost faith in religious institutions
Crime and Gun Violence Facts — FBI; CDC; NYPD; Children’s Defense Fund; Harvard Professor Robert Putnam; Pew Research Center.
We hope this information gives you a better idea of what we need to do to curb gun and gang violence. We are all in this together and we are looking for new and creative ideas, especially from young people, to address all the senseless killings that destroy families and communities every day here in America. If you have a SOLUTION please hit us up and we will get back to you to assess if we can make your valuable idea a part of our national strategy to end gun and gang violence. The movement starts with you, because change can only come through the power of the people who will soon realize they have the power to make change.
As we close out a week of proactive activities to prepare you for Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial start of summer (a period when GUN VIOLENCE SPIKES), we need you to be on your grind to stop gun & gang crime. Watch everything around you at all times because we are trying to break last year’s record of a 40% reduction in gun homicides over the 96-hour Memorial Day Weekend Period and we need your support to make this happen. Our advice to you is very simple: stay away from hot spots in the day and at night; alcohol & drugs will play a role in a lot of lives being lost so beware of the “Red Flag”; and stay away from people who are always looking for trouble (you know who they are). And if you can, go all out to talk a friend or family member out of doing or saying something stupid, it may just save their life. Hit us at Facebook.com/HHSYC.