Nebraska 4th Highest in Black Murder Victim Rate, Says Group Pushing for Gun Control

With only 54 murders statewide in 2010, it's hard to believe Nebraska could be on a top ten list of homicide rates.

When looking at only black victims, Nebraska finishes fourth per capita with 26 African Americans killed in 2010.

That breaks down to a statistic of 25.58 black homicide victims per 100,000

Lincoln Police say basing ranking on crime stats doesn't always offer insight.

"You just can take some of this stuff on face value," LPD Chief Jim Peschong SAID. "I really don't think this report has any reflection on the Lincoln community."

Peschong says any murder is a terrible tragedy, but, he says this issue is not tied to race but rather outside contributing factors like the economy.

"A lot of it is driven by the economy. If there are jobs and Lincoln has been pretty good on having employment and there are a lot of things going on in Lincoln, which are good things, which, in my mind, helps drive our crime rate down," Peschong said.

Lincoln accounted for only three murders the year the study was done. Larger cities, like Omaha, accounted for much more. While Peschong says Lincoln faces it's own problems with gangs and drugs, the same issue is much larger in Omaha.

Peschong says population also plays a big part in statistics.

"Having a low minority population can really skew numbers," Peschong said.

He says overall 77% of Lincolnites say they feel safe in their neighborhood and 93% are happy with police response.

Lincoln police keep their own crime statistics, which they release every year in the spring. Peschong says crime prevention strategies are based on those stats rather than national rankings.

In the study, the Violence Policy Center calls from more gun control.

For NEBRASKA, the study found that in 2010:

* There were 26 black homicide victims, resulting in a homicide rate of 25.58 per 100,000. Of these, 23 were male and three were female.

* For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 88 percent of black victims (23 out of 26) were killed with guns. Of these, 91 percent (21 victims) were known to be killed with handguns. There were three victims killed by bodily force.

* For homicides involving black victims for which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 71 percent of black victims (five out of seven) were murdered by someone they knew. Two victims were killed by strangers.

* For homicides involving black victims for which the circumstances could be identified, 81 percent (13 out of 16) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these, 38 percent (five homicides) involved arguments between the victim and the offender.