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Study Investigates Factors Involved in Gang Homicide & Violence

March 9, 2012 | Posted In Criminal Law - Gang Violence |

New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers Note Newark Among Worst the Nation

A new study investigates the role of drug crimes, drive-by shootings and other crimes in the incidence of gang violence across the country.  New Jersey criminal defense attorneys should be especially interested in the study because it revealed that Newark, New Jersey, has some of the highest rates of gang violence in the country. 

According to the study -- which was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- Oklahoma City, Long Beach, California and Oakland were also cities that had significant gang activity. In addition, California had the highest rates of gun homicide.

The study is interesting to New Jersey criminal defense lawyers because it seems to dispel some commonly-held misconceptions about gang homicide.  For instance, the study finds that gang homicides are much less likely to involve drug crimes or other crimes than is generally believed.  That is true for four of the five cities included in the CDC study. 

However, in Newark, New Jersey, the situation is different.  Here, drug use is an important factor in gang homicide.  In Newark, 20 percent of gang homicides are related to drug use, compared to 6 percent of non-gang homicides.  In the other four cities with the most gang activity, the percentage of gang homicides related to drug use is less than the percentage of non-gang homicides related to drug crimes.

Overall, the study finds that the average gang homicide victim is between 15 and 19 years old and is Hispanic.  Firearms were also likely to be used in gang homicides. Approximately 92 to 96 percent of gang homicides involved the use of firearms; for a non-gang homicide, the rate was 57 percent to 26 percent.

The study also stresses the importance of the National Violent Death Reporting System, which provides data that can be used to identify gang homicide prevention opportunities and to identify communities that may be at the highest risk for gang homicide crimes.

The New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons charged with DUI, drug crimes, sex crimes, murder, fraud, assault and other crimes across New Jersey.

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