Raising awareness to murder rates

Monday, September 2, 2019
News 12 this Morning

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Murder rates are growing across the country. Students at Augusta University are working to raise awareness by chalking the side walks. Hashtags, stats, and most of all 17,284 tally marks cover the pavement at that university; each mark represents a life.

Student, Jessica Kitches, explains just how powerful this message is,
"There were 17,000 murders in 2017 which was the last time we collected the data. So we're basically marking 17,000 I think 300 something dashes to signify how many murders. When you look at it that's a ton of dashes."

Each year a new group of AU students draws attention to the growing number of murders in the United States, Professor Kim Davies tells News 12, particularly in the South.

"In the US there's 5.6 per 100,000 compared to Canada, where it's 1.7 or the UK, where it's 2.1 per 100,000. Comparing those rates it's just amazing and in the South we have higher rates than most of the country."

Hearing these rates has the students in Professor Davies classes this semester taking a stand with the hashtag, #stopmurder.

"I'm pretty sure the mass shootings had a big part to play in that number I'm just being a public university sometimes you get those uncertain feelings like you just never know," says student, Davon Hill.

The group of students says, they know there's not one way to solve the problem but, they're taking the first steps by making people aware.
Jessica Kitchens explains the areas of focus.

"Ok, we need to pay attention to where these areas are that this is happening can we figure out why it's happening."

Professor Davies echoes saying,
"People need to learn how to solve problems by talking it out or by walking away that would be easier; there's all kinds of solutions and every little bit could help."

The students will continue to draw attention to this growing issue until, they see a decline in rates.

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