Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Crime Edition


Whilst Im amassing pix and intel on my current docket of projects, I'd like to take a little time to touch on a subject which I've been studying for pretty much my whole life...Violence. In neighborhoods such as Harlem, the spectre of violence is a constant fact of life. Residents of all backgrounds universally share in its destructive patterns, but it is Blacks and Hispanics who do in fact suffer the most of its effects. As a way of looking at this issue a little more analytically, I've compiled a few online sources which demonstrate the extent of the National tragedy of urban gun violence.
The first is a look at Harlem proper with the Google tracker, SpotCrime...
I extened the search parameters to include the entire summer on my search and revealed this...


This tool maps each reported incident along with a blurb about the case itself. Each incident is weighted according to the nature of the crime, but multiple shootings at the same time and place only receive 1 entry. So the shooting on 113th that I covered a few months back, only gets 1 entry, but the spasm of shooting up FDB and 127th from a couple of weeks, gets 1 entry per shooter. From this map it is clear that some blocks are definitely safer than others, and I put this info out there as a way for residents of this Neighborhood to make more informed choices about where they live and how they may conduct themselves. But I would also like to make a larger point, and that is about the racist policies of gun manufacturers. Take a look at this map from Chicago...


It shows a slightly different metric for gun violence, but its clear that nationwide we have a very serious problem with poorer Black and Hispanic neighborhoods being flooded with illegal guns. In my opinion, gun manufacturers must know that their weapons are ending up on the streets. Therefore this is a political problem that has to be addressed by our leadership. The only person who has even bothered to tackle this issue is Mayor Bloomberg. His radical use of undercover NYPD officers making straw purchases in Georgia, North Carolina, Virgina and Ohio is nothing short of a brilliant revolutionary measure which brought to light this overtly racist practice of white gun dealers knowingly selling numerous firearms to questionable Black buyers. Due to interference by Federal authorities (ATF most notably), Bloomberg has halted this procedure and replaced it with gun-buyback programs, but the fact is this problem is continuing in almost every major American City, with absolutely nothing being done by the media, politicians or other people in positions of power. Thank God (and Sergey Brin) for the power of the internet which is being used by concerned individuals to shed light on this extremely disturbing and persistent issue. Here are some more links and maps which further demonstrate the issue of illegal gun violence and its destructive effects on American Society:
NYC Murders
Baltimore
Los Angeles

Clearly we are at a crossroads...which way we proceed, depends on us!
(photo courtesy of Narmer)

7 comments:

Uptownflavor said...

If you are focusing on a centralize area like Harlem as oppossed to NYC, then you might want to look at smaller cities with similar populations and high crimes like Oakland and East Palo Alto in California or Baltimore. Comparing large cities to a neighborhood wouldn't give you an accurate enough comparison.

Yojimbot said...

Thanks UF, I do in fact link to a B-more blog regarding crime near the bottom of the post. I was going to actually do Northeast DC, but its demographics have more in common with Chicago than Harlem. I will check out East Palo Alto though, Im curious what's going on in Silicon Valley's backyard!

Cool Blue Reason said...

Things look relatively good in the St Nicholas - Morningside - CPN triangle. Perhaps the area has a different dynamic than "Harlem proper"?

Yojimbot said...

Yes CBR, good observation, this is where the majority of gentrification projects have taken place in Harlem. Of course a lot of the drug trade still centers around Central Park North, so there's alot going on there that's unreported.

Cool Blue Reason said...

Do you happen to know what data set is being used here? Is it coming directly from the NYPD, or some other system?

Yojimbot said...

Yes CBR, its an aggregate of police stats, eyewitness accts (you too can sign up to be a crime reporter) and news stories.

Joe said...

The map has to be taken with a grain of salt. Last month's murder of a teenager on 144th St. is marked at three separate locations.