Strong neighbourhood ties curb gun violence

Strong neighbourhood bonding can help shield community members from gun violence, according to researchers from Yale University.

“Violence results in chronic community-level trauma and stress and undermines health, capacity and productivity in some neighbourhoods. Our study focuses on empowering communities to combat the effects of living with chronic and persistent gun violence,” said lead author Emily Wang, assistant professor of internal medicine at Yale’s school of medicine.

Wang and her colleagues studied neighbourhoods in New Haven, Connecticut with high crime statistics.

They trained 17 community members in research and survey methods to gather data from about 300 of their own neighbours.

This community-based participatory research helped to build local engagement within these neighbourhoods.

Over half of neighbours surveyed knew none or a few of their neighbours.

Almost all of the study participants had heard a gun shot, two-thirds of them had a friend or family member hurt by a violent act, and nearly 60 percent had a friend or family member killed.

“Preliminary findings show that social cohesion or the strength of bonds between neighbours, is inversely associated with exposure to gun violence,” Wang noted.

Our study is a community-based and community-driven intervention to prevent and reduce the negative effects of gun violence in the communities affected by high rates of gun violence by strengthening social ties, bonds and resilience, the authors concluded.

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