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Pa. ranks high again for its black homicide victim rate

Pennsylvania ranks third among U.S. states in the rate of black homicidevictims, according to an analysis released today by the Violence PolicyCenter.

Pennsylvania ranks third among U.S. states in the rate of black homicide victims, according to an analysis released today by the Violence Policy Center.

The report analyzes FBI data from 2009, the most recent data available. In Pennsylvania, there were 28.3 black homicide victims per 100,000 people. The only states with higher rates were Missouri at 34.72 and Michigan with a rate of 30.21.

In 2008, Pennsylvania ranked second on the list with a rate of 31.05.

“Every year, nearly 1,200 Pennsylvanians lose their lives to gun violence. Almost half of those deaths are murders,” Max Nacheman, executive director of CeaseFirePA, said in a news release. “We know that many of those murders are committed by someone using an illegal gun. This study by the VPC only gives greater depth to those terrible statistics, uncovering evidence to show that entire communities are being devastated by gun violence.”

Guns often are involved

As in previous years, most of the homicides from the 2009 data were a result of guns. In Pennsylvania, of the homicides where the weapon could be determined, 85 percent of black victims were killed with guns.

“It’s no mystery where these guns are coming from — theft, straw purchases, trafficking,” Nacheman said. “It takes proactive measures to tackle these sources. If we can reduce the supply of illegal guns, we can reduce the number of lives lost each year to gun violence.”