This past Sunday, at CCC Old Mill, the video on Violence in Omaha, which I created and produced, played during Josh Dotzler’s message. Here’s the video, and then I’ll explain the backstory on it.
When the project was first presented to me, the thought was to do another statistics video similar to statistics videos I had produced in the past. (Like this one.) This was fine, but the more I began to work on the project I didn’t think it would be as effective. I didn’t want people to tune out when they saw another stats video. I wanted them hooked. So, I decided on a different approach.
Part of the reason for wanting people to get hooked was due to the message’s topic, violence. A large swath of Christ Community Church lives in the suburbs, and a faction of them think violence isn’t an issue they have to deal with on a daily basis. Their thinking is that violence is an urban/North Omaha issue. They think this because of the following graphic which shows homicides in Omaha since 1991.
The two blue tacks represent the Abide Network office, and the Dotzler’s home. People think all the violence that occurs in Omaha occurs in North Omaha. While a high percentage of homicides do occur there, they do happen in other parts of Omaha. The problem comes when people think this is true with all violent crime in Omaha. Violent crime occurs in all parts of Omaha, and that was something I wanted to bring out with the video.
The trick was how to show violence occurring in all parts of Omaha. Originally, I had thought of using stock photos of happy families and suburban neighborhoods, but then I thought it would be better to use video. I ordered stock footage of a family. The family seemed to typify a suburban stereotype in Omaha. Happy young family with young kids, beautiful house, immaculate lawn…perfection. Against that backdrop would be the statistics detailing violence in Omaha. The hope was that people would watch the video more closely and ponder the apparent contrast.
The thing is, there is no contrast with those two. Violence happens all over Omaha. Crime happens all over Omaha. One of my goals with the video was to undermine the stereotype and thinking that some people have about the suburbs being violence free. It was also a goal to get people thinking about violence in their community. Heck, behind some of those apparent perfect looking families, and homes, is violence. (Such as abuse and assault.)
The music I pulled ended up working well with the video. Originally, I was going to use Jay-Z’s 99 Problems or a mashup with Cypress Hill’s How I Could Just Kill A Man, but then I thought using either of those artists wouldn’t make the video as effective. (Perhaps another time!) I wanted the music to complement the footage I was using, and have the stats be the only thing that apparently is in contrast with the piece.
I had talked with Josh about the project, and he was with me on the idea I was developing. He also wanted to make sure it was stressed that violence is not solely in North Omaha.
In the end, I think the video is good. I think the concept works. I also think not being heavy with the violence stats makes the stats more effective. The response I’ve heard from people has been good.
Here are source links to the stats.
- Douglas County population (2008)
- 911 calls (2008)
- Violent Crime (per capita)
- Sex offender numbers are compiled from adding up number of offenders in West Omaha zip codes
- Number of violent crimes from 1991-2007 is from Abide Network presentation