By David Madden

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A local history professor has taken a good, long look at murders in Philadelphia, and how African-Americans are far more likely to be involved.

Eric Schneider at the University of Pennsylvania is working on a book that looks at the history of homicide in Philadelphia.

“Homicide has been disproportionately concentrated among African Americans since at least the 1940s,” he tells KYW Newsradio. “In fact, there’s some indication that it goes back to the 19th century.”

Reasons vary over the years — from police targeting blacks to the closing of manufacturing plants in town.

Today, Schneider says the trend remains, because of poverty, drugs and the proliferation of guns, although the cops are making new inroads to change that.

“They’re turning to community policing, trying to get to know people on the streets, try to reverse generations of mistrust in the criminal justice system.”

But Schneider suggests it’ll take a long time before the trend significantly turns around.

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