According to recent studies, three Midwest states have had significant increases in African-American homicide victims within the past few years: Illinois, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

For example, one study that was conducted by the Violence Policy Center based in Washington, D.C. revealed that for the third time in the past five years Missouri is leading the nation in the rate of black homicide victims.

Using figures from 2009, researchers found that Missouri’s homicide rate is 34.72 homicides per 100,000 black residents, which is almost double the national homicide rate for African-Americans of 17.90 per 100,000. This is significantly higher than the national rate for whites, which is 2.92 homicides per 100,000 people, according to study results.

Additionally, another study indicates that Chicago’s alarming African-American homicide rate disproportionately affects young people, and that gun violence plays a major role in these deaths.

In a series by The Chicago Reporter, it was revealed that, since 2008, 80 percent of the 530 people killed under the age of 21 were killed by gun violence. Most of the victims lived in the city’s South, Southwest and West sides of Chicago, which are areas where mainly African-Americans and Latinos live.

Of the total number of young homicide victims, The Chicago Reporter found that 247 were between 18 and 20, while 286 victims were under 18.

Wisconsin has also received media attention for its growing number of African-American homicide victims.

In a report that included FBI statistics from 2009, Wisconsin was ranked as one of the top ten states with the highest percentages of black murder victims. The other nine states that have been ranked as having the highest African-American homicide rates are: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Indiana, Tennessee, Missouri, California and Nevada.

The report demonstrates that Wisconsin’s homicide rate is nearly five times that of the national rate. Of the 146 murders that occurred in Wisconsin during 2009, 79 victims were black. Of those 79, 66 were young black men.

Although there has been an attempt to use weapons control laws to prevent these statistics, many believe this is only a small part of what needs to happen to stop the increase in African-American homicides. Madison, Wisconsin Police Chief Noble Wray believes that the culture many urban black men are submerged in contributes to them seeking violence as a path of power in their communities.

Wray told the Superior Telegram, ”[W]e’ve got to move away from that and that is something that has to be addressed in a personal responsibility [way] with African-American males, because they are killing each other.”