Amarillo Police Department discusses misconceptions of those involved in gun violence

VIDEO: Experts discuss misconceptions of those involved in gun violence
Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 5:36 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2023 at 6:21 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - We continue our series on gun violence. This time on the topic of misconceptions regarding victims and perpetrators.

According to an analysis done on gun violence trends in Amarillo, a majority of gun violence victims in Amarillo are male and are older than the offenders.

West Texas A&M professor Jeanette Arpero says it’s clear, these statistics aren’t common knowledge. The Amarillo Police department see’s this as well.

“Another myth that occurs is that there’s a lot of stranger-on-stranger violence and the actuality is most of the violent crimes occur with people that know each other, including shootings,” says Martin Birkenfeld, Chief of Police, Amarillo Police Department.

While some may believe gun violence is interracial, Jeanette Arpero tell us differently.

“A lot of gun violence is intra-racial. It’s usually Hispanic and Hispanic; Black and Black,” says Arpero.

Arpero says there is only one statistic where this isn’t true, and that is with Native American women being perpetrated by white men.

Chief Birkenfeld confirms the saying, you are who your friends are. He reiterates it is not a myth as far as what his department has seen.

“It’s sometimes acquaintances that end up involved in violent incidents. And so, if you hang out with a certain group of people, there’s likely to be conflict within that group. It just kind of makes sense,” says Birkenfeld.

Jeanette Arpero says, here research has proven that fact to be true as well.

“One of the highest predictive variables on whether or not like a juvenile will be delinquent is who their peers are. So, like that age old saying, tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are. it’s pretty true,” says Arpero.

Birkenfeld says he wished there was a way to get through to the youth that there are other ways to deal with anger than resulting to gun violence.

“I just wish that there was a way we can reach out to young people and help them understand how to resolve conflict, even when they’re feeling violence or angry and there’s ways you can, there’s outlets for that,” says Birkenfeld.

Here at NewsChannel 10, we will continue to bring you the facts and debunk the myths of gun violence.