Green Bay, Wisconsin is a city of just over 100,000 people. The population is roughly 70 percent white and 4.3 percent black.
Just who do you think is responsible for the gun violence in the city?
Answer? Not white people. [Gun violence in Green Bay driven by ‘small, small population’ of repeat offenders, report finds: Green Bay City Council will consider report’s recommendations for reducing gun violence, WPR.org, June 9, 2022]:
A study of gun violence in Green Bay finds it is driven by a small number of young men involved in gang activity, and that most gun violence happens in retaliation against earlier gun violence.
Officials hope to use the data to shape the city’s crime policies and to improve violence prevention efforts. The Green Bay City Council this week heard recommendations from the director of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, which authored the study, including a recommendation that the city create a gun violence reduction unit in its police department, improve intelligence gathering and expand community investments in violence intervention services.
The study looked at every instance of gun violence in the city from 2019 through 2021, reviewing not just homicides and gunshot injuries but also every report of shots fired. The institute’s director, David Muhammad, presented the findings and issued a written report.
The analysis finds that a majority of both victims and suspects were Black, and the overwhelming majority — nearly 90 percent — were male. Most were between the ages of 18 and 34; relatively few were minors. The findings connect the violence to activity of 11 gangs or social groups in the city. (Muhammad noted that “gang” has a legal definition that isn’t always met by the loose social connections that form some of these groups). And most victims and offenders had a previous criminal record.
Muhammad called this group of men a “small, small population” and noted that the vast majority of Black men in the Green Bay are not connected to gun violence at all. But he said the social ties within this small group of offenders also means there are clear patterns of behavior that precipitate the violence.
“A good number of these incidents could be identified ahead of time,” he said. “The violence is somewhat predictable, and therefore preventable.”
Most of the shootings happened in retaliation against earlier shootings. Subjects often make threats on social media, Muhammad said, “vowing revenge.”
Better intelligence-gathering capabilities create a window of time when authorities can intervene and prevent the next act of violence, Muhammad said, through community and nonprofit programming.
Despite being near 70 percent of the population of Green Bay, white people were only 14 percent of suspects in fatal and nonfatal shootings.
Despite being just 4 percent of the population of Green Bay, blacks were 52 percent of the suspects in fatal and nonfatal shootings.
Every city should be forced to publish this data on the racial breakdown of gun crime.