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Police in Colorado Blame Local Violence on Hip-Hop

Echoing the recent sentiments of authorities in southern Florida, police in Colorado Springs, Colo. are now blaming a rise in local violence on hip-hop music. According to a report in the New York Times, the Colorado Springs Police Department recently denounced the genre in a July press release following a shooting death, and have warned club owners against playing rap. “We don’t want to broad-brush hip-hop music altogether,” said police spokesman Lt. Skip Arms. “But we’re looking at a subcomponent that typically glorifies, promotes criminal behavior and demeans women.” The city, the second largest in the state, has recently seen an upswing in hip-hop themed parties and events, as well as an increase in violent crime. There have been 19 murders in Colorado Springs during 2007, compared with only 15 for the entire year of 2006.

Since 1990, the city’s population has grown from about 397,000 to nearly half a million. Locals feel that the police department’s attempt to paint hip-hop as a contributing factor to the increased violence is a manifestation of the mostly white, conservative population’s attitudes towards minorities. “If you examine the history of ethnic and race relations in this community, you will detect a pattern of ignorance of minority cultures and problems,” said Dr. Jose J. Barrera, a former director of ethnic studies at Colorado University. “No serious observer believes that current manifestations of youth culture and pop culture actually fuel criminal activity.”

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