That narrative has blown up in the past week with the killing of Chris Lane, a 22-year-old Australian who was attending East Central University in Oklahoma on a baseball scholarship. He was allegedly killed by two black teens (although the lead prosecutor in that case said he doesn't believe Lane was shot because he was white).
Some liberals decry the term "black-on-black crime," but Frank Reddick doesn't really care. The Tampa City Councilman will be hosting a forum about black-on-black crime on Thursday, Sept. 5, at Middleton High School.
"We know there's other crimes being committed in the community. We know that there's crime in the white community as well. But we know it's very prevalent in the black community, and until someone has a family member or their family has been affected by this senseless crime, they don't have that feeling, like some of these parents are going through," he said in response to the accusation that he's playing into the hands of conservatives.
Reddick made headlines last month when he spoke out at the end of a City Council meeting regarding his anger about the death of Family Dollar store manager Horsley Shorter Jr, who was shot and killed during a robbery that took place around the corner from where the councilman resides.
Reddick said that people know there's a problem when it comes to urban violence, but how to resolve it is the question.
"And the only way you can do it is that we gotta talk to people who are directly impacted by these problems, and most of them are youth," he said.
Reddick said that invitations to next week's forum are being sent out to different youth programs in Tampa, as well as through social media sites like Facebook.
However some might question if Reddick is overestimating how significant a problem violence is in Tampa, compared to other localities. Over the past decade, the TPD has boasted about how it has radically reduced the crime rate, but Reddick isn't impressed.
"When I hear law enforcement say crime is down, they never really specify what type of crime is down, and yes, automobile crime might be down, burglaries might be down, but in the first six months of this year, when you got 28 cases of killings right here in the city limits of Tampa, then to me, crime is not down. Because 28 is too many for the first six months of the year," he said.
TPD spokesperson Andrea Davis said Reddick has it wrong. She told CL that there have been 15 homicides in Tampa this year, an increase of two from this time last year.
When it comes to discussing urban violence, Chicago is the most frequently uttered city in the U.S. For the first six months of this year, Chicago police reported 184 murders. In New York there were 156 murders in the first six months of 2013, the biggest decrease in crime there since the early 1960s. In Oakland there have been 65 homicides this year.
Nonetheless, the families of those 15 victims in Tampa probably don't think there are too few murders. Reddick said he encourages everyone to attend the event.
"I don't care if you're black, white or Hispanic. I'm trying to invite as many people to come out," he said. "Because this is the first time this dialogue has taken place in Tampa, and it's time we came together as one community to try to help solve some of the problem that we're facing."
That event takes place on Thursday, Sept. 5, at 6 p.m. at Middleton High School (4801 N. 22nd St. in Tampa).