Violence in America

JONESBORO-The images are still fresh, but with Monday's killing spree making headlines, the real question, has America's violence been once again blown out of proportion? "What has changed is the public's perception of the level of violence in this country."

Arkansas State criminologist, Doctor Greg Russell, says this is partly thanks to the media, but statistics from the FBI show violent crimes in America are up anywhere from one to over six percent based on the size of the city.

"There have been spikes for one year or two years from time to time on certain kinds of violence, but it usually trends down after that," said Russell.

However, some in region eight think otherwise.

"I think there's more terrorists here than there is in Iraq, and I think something needs to be done about it. It's getting out of hand," said Ruby Collins.

But the root of violence lies much deeper than the public's perception.

"Most interpersonal violence is the result of emotional relationships gone bad. There is no amount of deterance that is going to change that," said Russell.

One thing that can change is the way we handle violence.

"I think that our biggest problem is that we like to point fingers, rather than go at the core of the problem," said Rachel Woolard.

"It's easy to attack crime and criminals. It's not so easy to structure a message on what the society needs to do to structure itself in order to quit producing that activity," said Russell.

Of course there is the never ending debate over gun control.

"Gun control keeps honest people honest. If a criminal needs a firearm, he's going to pick it up wherever. If they didn't have fire arms they would use knives, hammers, whatever," said Graham Eldridge of DNW Outdoors.

However, criminologists say there is a link between guns and crime.

"I know that the cities that have the stiffest gun control laws have the lowest homicide rates, the lowest suicide rates, and the lowest assault rates," said Russell.

No matter the debate, crime is within the heart of every american community.

"We're talking about causes of crime that are embedded into the structures of society. If we don't change the structure of the society, the violence will continue," said Russel.

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