LANSING (WWJ/AP) – A black Michigan resident is seven times more likely than the average American to become a homicide victim.

The Washington-based Violence Policy Center, an anti-violence advocacy group, said black Michigan residents are slain at one of the highest rates in the nation.

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The figures, released Thursday, show that 31.5 of every 100,000 African Americans in Michigan were homicide victims in 2011. That trails only Nebraska at 34.4 and Missouri at 33.4 per 100,000.

The group analyzed data from 2011, the most recent surveyed year, which indicate there were 6,309 black homicide victims in the United States — putting the national black homicide victimization rate at 17.51 per 100,000. Michigan’s black homicide victimization rate is nearly twice that.

Center Executive Director Josh Sugarmann said their analysis determined the cause of death for nearly all of Michigan’s 447 black homicide victims, and 362 were shot — adding that gun violence is a “public health crisis” that desperately needs to be addressed.

There were 447 black homicide victims in Michigan in 2011. Here’s how the numbers break down:


Thirty-three homicide victims (8 percent) were less than 18 years old and 5 victims (1 percent) were 65 years of age or older. The average age was 31 years old.


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Out of 447 homicide victims, 392 were male and 55 were female.

Most Common Weapons

For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 85 percent of victims (362 out of 428) were shot and killed with guns. Of these, 63 percent (227 victims) were killed with handguns. There were 105 victims killed with firearms, type not stated. There were 30 victims killed with knives or other cutting instruments, 17 victims killed by bodily force, and 12 victims killed by a blunt object.

Victim/Offender Relationship

For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 70 percent of victims (111 out of 158) were murdered by someone they knew. Forty-seven victims were killed by strangers.


For homicides in which the circumstances could be identified, 68 percent (146 out of 214) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these, 59 percent (86 homicides) involved arguments between the victim and the offender.

Click here to read the complete report (.pdf format)

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