Wednesday, August 13, 2008

There Goes The Neighborhood.......Cemetery, That is...

By now the statistics are as well known in London as they are in Livonia. Detroit has lost half its population since its heyday of the 1950s, and every year the city hemorrhages an estimated 5,000 people more. First it was white flight to the suburbs; then with the city’s continued spiral into poverty and violence, blacks began to flee to those same suburbs. And while census figures show that whites are returning to some of the nation’s largest cities, Detroit is experiencing a flight of a different kind. As the Imbrunones’ second funeral demonstrates, Detroit is experiencing the flight of the dead.

The movement of the dead from the nation’s largest black city to its overwhelmingly white suburbs
is a small, though socially symbolic phenomenon, revealing the grinding problems of race, crime and economics that plague both sides of Eight Mile.

From 2002 through 2007, the remains of about 1,000 people have been disinterred and moved out of the city, according to permits stored in metal filing cabinets in the city’s department of health. Looked at in another way, for about every 30 living human beings who leave Detroit, one dead human being follows. Moreover, anecdotal evidence compiled by a Detroit professor suggests the figure may be twice as high, meaning city records may be incomplete and that thousands upon thousands of deceased people have been relocated from the city over the past 20 years.
-source


LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- The AIDS epidemic among African-Americans in some parts of the United States is as severe as in parts of Africa, according to a report out Tuesday.
"AIDS in America today is a black disease," says Phill Wilson, founder and CEO of the institute and himself HIV-positive for 20 years. "2006 CDC data tell us that about half of the just over 1 million Americans living with HIV or Aids are black."

Although black people represent only about one in eight Americans, one in every two people living with HIV in the United States is black, the report notes.

In Washington, more than 80 percent of HIV cases are among black people...

"Five percent of the entire population (in DC) is infected... that's comparable to countries like Uganda or South Africa,"....

According to this report, if black Americans made up their own country, it would rank above Ethiopia (420,000 to 1,300,000) and below Ivory Coast (750,000) in HIV population. Both Ethiopia and the Ivory Coast are among the 15 nations receiving funds from the President's Emergency Plan For Aids Relief. The United States has given about $15 billion to PEPFAR nations in the past five years.

In this report, Wilson and others urge the federal government and private foundations to significantly increase funding for HIV prevention and treatment programs. The report also calls on international agencies to hold the U.S. government accountable for failure to address HIV/AIDS epidemic in its own country...
-source


Across the country, black morticians are changing the way they operate. The reason: a spike in African-American murders—and the violence that sometimes follows victims to the grave. In an echo of more volatile parts of the world, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, African-American morticians report seeing an increase in violent behavior, and occasional killings, at funerals.

The violation of the once-sacrosanct funeral is one byproduct of a little-noticed upswing in the murder rate of African-Americans. The number of blacks killed in America, mostly by other blacks, has been edging up at a time when the rate for other groups has been flat or falling.

Since 2006, police in Boston, Goldsboro, N.C., Louisville, Los Angeles and St. Louis have investigated black murders that occurred at or immediately after funeral services. Of five cases reviewed for this article, four were at the funerals of other murder victims. Two were gang related. One was a revenge killing. Two remain unexplained.

According to the National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association, the average cost of an African-American funeral is about $4,500. In many cases, the specter of violence is driving costs up. In Cincinnati, security firms make regular appearances at services, adding as much as $500 to the bill. Surveillance systems can cost $2,000 or more just to install.

“We’ve had to alternate funeral procession routes because we have been tipped off,” says Duane Weems, president of Elite Protective Services, a local security firm. “Attendees to the church service will tell us that this gang is waiting down there.”


In some cases, police are shadowing mourners. On the West Coast, funeral directors are now working closely with the Los Angeles Police Department, from planning procession routes that avoid gang territory to coordinating burials so rivals aren’t interred in the same cemeteries at the same time.

Anthony Felder, of Los Angeles’s Spalding Mortuary, says he routinely faxes basic information to the police if he’s handling a homicide case. He also faxes images of tattoos on the body to help the police identify gang members—and assess any specific risks associated with the deceased. The police in return send plainclothes officers for security.

In St. Louis, Ms. Kellom, 43, says she has gone so far as to ask that the local police department set up a substation inside her facility. She argues that such an arrangement would give her establishment—and the neighborhood—a much-needed, visible police presence. She has promised a body-free zone for officers, who she expects will soon be dropping by on a regular basis to monitor the area.

more here

Crime Rates

• Blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery.

• When blacks commit crimes of violence, they are nearly three times more likely than non-blacks to use a gun, and more than twice as likely to use a knife.

• Hispanics commit violent crimes at roughly three times the white rate, and Asians commit violent crimes at about one quarter the white rate.

• The single best indicator of violent crime levels in an area is the percentage of the population that is black and Hispanic.

Interracial Crime

• Of the nearly 770,000 violent interracial crimes committed every year involving blacks and whites, blacks commit 85 percent and whites commit 15 percent.

• Blacks commit more violent crime against whites than against blacks. Forty-five percent of their victims are white, 43 percent are black, and 10 percent are Hispanic. When whites commit violent crime, only three percent of their victims are black.

• Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery.

• Blacks are 2.25 times more likely to commit officially-designated hate crimes against whites than vice versa.

Gangs

• Only 10 percent of youth gang members are white.

• Hispanics are 19 times more likely than whites to be members of youth gangs. Blacks are 15 times more likely, and Asians are nine times more likely.

Incarceration

• Between 1980 and 2003 the US incarceration rate more than tripled, from 139 to 482 per 100,000, and the number of prisoners increased from 320,000 to 1.39 million.

• Blacks are seven times more likely to be in prison than whites. Hispanics are three times more likely.

-source




...