Did you know that African-Americans are 12 times more likely to die by gun violence, and Latinos are twice as likely to be threatened by cops compared to white people? In the United States, various aspects of minority communities can make the neighborhood feel unsafe and gun violence more common, such as low surveillance, gang-related activities, and low funds to make the area clean. This problem is very important to me because my parents own a restaurant in DC that is on a dangerous block. One day, there was a drive-by right outside our restaurant, and I saw that there was a child injured and a man killed. This was very impactful, as it showed me how anyone’s life can end just like that, which makes me feel more paranoid whenever I walk around the area. Communities of minorities in the United States, such as African-American and Latino communities, suffer from gun violence. Through gun violence, the victims become more afraid; therefore, the Federal Government should fund Neighborhood Watches in those communities rather than relying on volunteers just trying to keep their neighborhoods safe.

According to the Giffords Law Center, “Black Americans die from gun violence at nearly 2.4 times the rate of white Americans. On average, more than 12,400 Black people die from gun violence each year, with 15,548 such deaths in 2021 alone—the highest number on record.” This suggests that African Americans, a minority group, face a great issue with gun violence. It also indicates that African Americans need a solution for the high amounts of gun-related homicides. According to American Progress, “From 2009 to 2018, the rate of gun-related assaults against Black and Hispanic Americans was 208.9 and 128.7, respectively, per 100,000, compared with 90.5 per 100,000 for white Americans.” Therefore, gun violence is more present in minority groups compared to white communities, which is why minorities are the ones who suffer the most from gun violence. The way to solve that is to educate and enhance civilian supervision over the neighborhood to ensure the safety of all who reside there.

I believe that to solve the issue, the Federal Government should fund Neighborhood Watches so that they ensure everyone’s safety in a peaceful manner. The article “U.S. Justice Department: Does Neighborhood Watch Reduce Crime?” says, “On average, there was a 16% decrease in crime in Neighborhood Watch communities when compared with control areas.” This shows that Neighborhood Watch can improve the safety of neighborhoods, such as those in minority groups, and that, with extra funding from the government, the crime rate would decrease even more. A 2021 New York Times Article shows the solution’s effectiveness: “We found that after both the greening and trash cleanup interventions, gun violence went down significantly. The steepest drop in crime, up to 29 percent, was in the several blocks surrounding vacant lots in neighborhoods whose residents live below the poverty line.” It stands to reason that Neighborhood Watches should receive more funding to clean up the neighborhoods to keep them safe.

Some people may think extra funding for Neighborhood Watches could potentially give the members too much authority and possibly lead to more crime among neighbors. However, those opponents might not recognize that Neighborhood Watches, such as the Guardian Angels, have decreased crime by teaching self-defense and introducing youth to help keep the neighborhood safe (University of Pennsylvania Law School). This shows ways the Federal Government could fund educational programs to teach younger generations to keep the neighborhood clear of gangs, crimes, and bullying.

It should be clear that minority communities in the United States suffer from gun violence in the way that they become afraid and emotionally traumatized; therefore, the Federal Government needs to fund Neighborhood Watches to eradicate crime and supervise the area to improve safety. The reason for more funding is that Neighborhood Watches could help keep the area cleaner, as well as reduce crime because of improved surveillance around the neighborhood. I strongly encourage the Federal Government to fund Neighborhood Watches through tax money and connect them with the local police to ensure maximum efficiency.

Written By:

Jorge Lopez

Grade 12

DC International PCS