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Leovy acknowledges that murder rates are way down in recent years, but says it's never been about that. "Homicide is not a mass syndrome in America," she says. "It's a concentrated group of people and that group of people is still horribly affected by homicide." In 2007, L.A. County's murder rates were especially low. Even so, Leovy says, black men in their 20s were dying at rates of around 140 per 100,000 per year. "As a middle-aged white lady, my death rate is probably 1 or 2 per 100,000 — maximum," Leovy says. "These young men are dying at 140. They're in a war zone, and the rest of us are living in a different country." "The real homicide problem is not the numbers that everybody focuses on, it's the disproportion."
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