|New Haven murders from 2005-2012: Notice almost none of the murders happen in majority white areas. The same can't be said for majority black areas|
Black New Haveners lag 40 points behind white peers on reading tests, have half the average income of white families, and are concentrated together in struggling neighborhoods. There’s a name for that situation, according to the NAACP: “Urban Apartheid.”
That’s the title of a new report released Thursday by the Greater New Haven branch of the NAACP.
A year in the making, the report details many challenges minorities face in and around New Haven, and lays out some suggested solutions, including calling on the suburbs for help.
“We are almost at the point of having a permanent underclass,” branch President James Rawlings said at a press conference at NAACP headquarters on Whalley Avenue. That underclass is mostly non-white and concentrated in poor urban neighborhoods, he said. For children growing up in such situations, “knowing where they’re born, we know they have no future,” Rawlings said.
He called out a few key statistics from the 25-page “Urban Apartheid” report, which focuses on challenges in education, economic equity, healthy neighborhoods, and civic engagement. Click here to read the full report compiled by the NAACP.Among the stats he mentioned:
- In New Haven, 66 percent of white students are reading at goal level by third grade, versus 26 percent of black students.
- Ninety-eight percent of families with incomes of over $50,000 have access to the internet, versus 78 percent of families below that income level, in greater New Haven.
- Twelve percent of minorities say they have trouble paying their rent or mortgage, versus just 4 percent of non-minorities in the greater New Haven metropolitan area.
- Median income for black families in New Haven County has dropped $9,000 since 2008, compared to a drop of less than $3,000 for white families, who have an average income that’s nearly twice as high as black families.
- Black people have less access to transportation, and thus have less access to jobs and longer commutes when they do have jobs.
“We can’t have one town bearing the burden,” Rawlings said. He said the people who “fall out” in the suburbs end up on the New Haven Green.
Among the efforts towards regional cooperation, he said the NAACP will be asking the federal Housing and Urban Development agency (HUD) to locate public housing in “healthy communities” in the suburbs, instead of concentrating them in the city.
A 2010 crime breakdown shows 23 of the city’s 24 homicide victims were black. One was Latino. None were white.
Why was that?
Police Chief Frank Limon and Mayor John DeStefano were asked that question Wednesday at an annual crime data press conference at 1 Union Ave.
They announced that murders rose from 12 to 24 from 2009 to 2010. Twenty-two victims were black males, one a black female, and one Hispanic male.
Of 124 non-fatal shooting victims, 99 were black men; seven were black females; seven Hispanic males; one Hispanic female; eight white males; one white female; and 1 “other male.”
In 2009, almost all the city’s 12 homicide victims were black (11 black males, 1 black female). Yale University graduate student Annie Le is not included in the total because her death occurred on the Yale campus.
When asked about the reason for the glaring racial disparity in homicide victims, DeStefano responded that “the greater correlation is the reentry population,” meaning that a high percentage of people caught up in gun violence have returned to the streets from prison.
Chief Limon said “geography” explains the disparity.
“Most of our violence is in an area of the the city. Obviously there are neighborhoods that make up the city in terms of race,” he said.
The past year has seen demonstrations and memorial gatherings in response to shootings take place primarily in the black community. (See a video clip at the top of this story.)
Since 2005, 85 percent of New Haven homicides have occurred in just one-third of all city neighborhoods.
And “neighborhoods that saw two or more homicides from 2005 to 2011 ... are almost entirely African-American and Latino.”
That’s the word from the not-for-profit numbers-crunching outfit called Data Haven. It has produced a report and map matching homicides over six years with U.S. Census data.
In most of New Haven, according to the findings, the murder rate is no higher than it is elsewhere in Connecticut. But in those hardest-hit neighborhoods, it’s ten times higher.
Click here to read the full report and view the charts.