New research from the American Journal of Public Health finds that within a high-crime African-American community, the closer an individual was to a gunshot victim socially, the greater their risk of also becoming a victim.
Within a Chicago area community of approximately 82,000 residents with characteristics profiled as homicide risk factors, researchers evaluated individual's probability of becoming a victim to homicide. In particular, within this community, the study evaluated individuals' social distance to a co-offending network -- where two or more people were arrested together for the same crime.
Findings from the study indicate that the risk of becoming a homicide victim increases with one's closer social proximity to homicide victims. Specifically, for every degree of separation from a victim, an individual would experience a 57 percent decrease in their odds of homicide victimization. In addition 41 percent of all gun homicides occurred within less than 4 percent of the neighborhood's population.
"By mapping the terrain within high-risk social networks and analyzing shooting patterns, network analysis offers a more direct road map for interventions. Thus, the approach advanced here would argue against sweeping policies and practices based on categorical distinctions such as gang membership or race and, instead, focus on intervention and prevention efforts that consider the observable and risky behavior of individuals," the authors suggest.
- Andrew V. Papachristos, Christopher Wildeman. Network Exposure and Homicide Victimization in an African American Community. American Journal of Public Health, 2013; e1 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301441
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