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Stanford Criminal Justice Center
Stanford Criminal Justice Center

Three years, 2603 killings

The title of this post is also the title of a recent entry in the LA Times’s The Homicide Report: The Times Chronicles L.A. County Homicide Victims.

The entry contains some painful statistics regarding the demographic characteristics of a typical Los Angeles homicide victim. It states, in part:

“Latinos are killed in greater numbers than all other races combined, accounting for 1,367, or 52%, of 2,604 county homicides recorded since 2007. Black people are killed at a rate far out of proportion to their presence in the county, making up more than 30% of the homicide victims and less than 10% of the county population. And homicide is overwhelmingly a phenomenon of young men, with 85% of all victims men and nearly four of every 10 victims between the ages of 17 and 25. Guns were used in almost three-quarters of all killings during the period.”

For several years, criminal justice reform advocates have been bringing public attention to the fact that young men of color make up a disproportionate number of criminal defendants and jail and prison inmates. This snapshot of LA sheds a light on another troubling facet of the relationship between race and the American criminal justice system: young men of color are disproportionately represented among the population of homicide victims as well.

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