The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention has released a new report comparing gang homicide to other types of homicides. The report debunks a couple of popular theories about these homicides.
According to the report, Gang Homicides-5 US Cities, 2003-2008, more than 90% of gang homicides involve the use of firearms. One fact from the study that does not surprise any Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer is that more than 90% of victims and their homicides were male. The report also finds that in most cases, gang homicides are not the result of crimes in progress or bystander deaths. These typically involve gang members responding to a gang conflict.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gang members are much more likely than their peers to be involved in delinquency, and to engage in crime and violent activities. These crimes are also much less likely to involve drug crimes, unlike what is generally believed. The most frequent victims of these homicides are male, and the most frequent reason is retaliation for gang conflict.
Most gang homicide victims are between the age of 15 and 19. In cities like Los Angeles, most gang homicide victims are Hispanic. Five cities, including Los Angeles, Oakland and Long Beach had the highest rates of gang homicides in the country. The only other non-California cities include Newark, New Jersey and Oklahoma City. In the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach, less than 5% of all homicides involving gang members also involved drug crimes or drug usage. In Oakland, 12.5% of gang homicides involved drug use, compared to 16.5% of non-gang homicides.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging the use of initiatives to prevent youths from becoming involved in gangs and violent activities.