When many around the world imagine the American Mid-West, they think of white picket fences and golden, homespun values. We, who grew up in the Middling West, know the brutal reality of the Plains states, and here’s evidence of violence against Blacks in Omaha, Nebraska stretching back to September 29, 1919.
Not much has changed for Blacks in Omaha since 1919. The city is ghettoized by Race with Black pockets of poverty and hopelessness and a new revelation by the city police department is damning in the obvious attempt to mislead the nation from the fact that Black residents in Nebraska are 18 times more likely to be killed by homicide than a White peer.
Omaha police officials say they are addressing reporting problems that for years have kept Omaha statistics out of the FBI’s detailed homicide database. “We believe this issue has been going on since the 1990s, but we’re aware of it now and it will be corrected in the future,” Deputy Chief Mary Newman said.In addition to the statistics it compiles each year on crimes in cities and states, the FBI puts together the Supplemental Homicide Report. It includes details on murders, including age, sex and race of victims and offenders and types of weapons used.
Omaha police had significant problems in the early 1990s when it sought to computerize its crime statistics. While those problems were resolved, the statistics on homicides the department sent on to the state from that time forward did not include some information the FBI requires for the homicide data.
As a result, the Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice did not forward the Omaha statistics on to the FBI. The lack of Omaha data led to a recent national study severely under-ranking the level of black homicides in Nebraska.
Things aren’t getting better in Omaha.
Here’s a recent city snapshot over a five-day period:
A teen gunned down outside a bowling alley.A 15-year-old shot in the face while walking to a bus stop.
A man shot dead inside a home.
A young woman shot in broad daylight, followed by a rolling gunbattle through north Omaha streets.
The surge of violence left three dead and another gravely wounded and heightened the tensions in several Omaha high schools, but more than that, it underscored how Omaha’s streets in recent years have become among the deadliest places in America for blacks.
Fueled by gun violence in northeast Omaha, Nebraska has the third-highest black homicide rate in the nation, according to the latest compilation of detailed national homicide statistics.
How do we stop the death and violence in Omaha?
Do we add more police officers?
Do we crack down on crime by arresting more residents?
Should we pay to send the impoverished and uneducated to school?
Let’s hope the people of Nebraska take to the streets to save their fellow citizens. The high homicide rate of Blacks in Omaha is a human shame that can never be wiped away, but there must be some way to cure the urge to kill each other.