2008 is becoming a very deadly year for black men in The City

As San Francisco looks to decrease the number of homicides in The City from last year’s decade-high tally, a newly released statistic — that 70 percent of the homicide victims so far this year have been black — is raising concerns from city officials.

Supervisor Sophie Maxwell called on the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice on Monday to take the lead on coordinating efforts to bring relief to the black community.

Of the 22 homicide victims this year, 15, or 70 percent, were black men and one black woman, according to the MOCJ.

“There are not that many African-Americans and there certainly are less African-American males than there was a year ago,” Maxwell said during the Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee meeting. “I think the population is small enough that we ought to be able to see something. There ought to be a campaign to rescue these males. And there is a way to do it. We all know they are in the system. You know them almost from birth. So you can follow them.”

Maxwell said that while there are ongoing efforts to reach the black community, the committee needs to hear more about them and also have a way to evaluate those efforts.

Committee Chairman Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi also expressed concern about the number of black homicide victims and suggested there was a need for a better response given that blacks have been the majority of the homicide victims in recent years.

In 2006, there were 85 homicides with 44 black male victims and three black female victims, according to data from the MOCJ, and in 2007, there were 98 homicides with 47 black male victims and six black female victims.

Lt. Mikail Ali, of the MOCJ, said “there needs to be a social response as well in terms of the community addressing these issues in collaboration with the Police Department.”

“We are finding that both the victims and the suspects are engaged in high levels of criminal activity,” Ali said. “We are definitely finding that the victims are continually involved in the revolving door of the criminal justice system, being arrested and released.”

jsabatini@examiner.com

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