Gun violence trends in Amarillo broken into 3 types
AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - In Amarillo, gun violence can be broken down into three categories: Suicide, retaliation shootings, and accidents.
“We’ve transitioned our investigations to where, when a person is shot, even if they don’t die, which we call a nonfatal shooting, we are still going to investigate those as if it was a homicide,” says Amarillo Police Department Chief of Police Martin Birkenfeld.
Birkenfeld said that for the city, the biggest issue is shootings of people and the biggest focus is keeping retaliation from occurring.
“I think retaliation is certainly a recognizable piece of the puzzle. Some of the drive by shootings at a house, for example, are meant to intimidate or threaten somebody. In some cases, they’re meant as retaliation for another incident that occurred,” says Birkenfeld
He says the goal is getting on the cases as fast as possible in order to prevent retaliation and overall gun violence.
Another major type of gun violence here in Amarillo is suicide, accounting for over half of the percentage of gun violence in the nation.
“Suicide is very difficult because it’s hard for the family and friends of the person to understand what happened. We feel like it deserves a great deal of attention as well,” says Birkenfeld
Jeanette Arpero, instructor of criminal justice at West Texas A&M University, says the demographic for suicide is different than for homicides.
“Out of that category, I believe like 60 percent were older white males over the age of like 40,” says Arpero.
Lastly, Birkenfeld says that accidental shootings happen quite a bit in Amarillo. He says those will continue to happen without the practice of regular firearm safety.
“Nothing is more tragic than a young child who gets a gun and either accidentally shoots themself or accidentally shoots a friend or family member. It’s absolutely preventable. If you own a firearm, or you have a firearm in your house, you have to make sure that it does not get into the hands of children and by children, I mean, any young person who has not had a considerable amount of firearm safety training,” says Birkenfeld.
We will continue to break down the trends of gun violence here in Amarillo
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