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Violence dramatically affects the people directly involved — but it doesn’t stop there: The repercussions, especially of gun violence, ripple out across entire communities.
People become frightened, stressed and less engaged in neighborhood life. Their physical and mental health suffer. Those who are financially better off move away, and housing prices decline, setting in motion a downward community spiral — one that engenders still more violence.
Violence - Instances - Individual - Thing - Person
“Violence is not just these little isolated instances of one individual doing a bad thing to another person,” says Michelle Kondo, a social scientist at the US Forest Service Northern Research Station in Philadelphia. “Crimes happen in a context, and environments can contribute to those acts of violence.
Kondo is one of a growing number of sociologists, epidemiologists and public health researchers who are focusing on neighborhoods as the most effective context in which to study violence and devise innovative interventions. They say that how communities are arranged — and the subtle cues people encounter as they move about in them — affects the way they live and interact with others. This makes a place either vibrant and welcoming or the opposite.
Places - Others - Robert - Sampson - Scientist
“Some places are more violent than others,” says Robert Sampson, a social scientist at Harvard University who studies crime and urban inequality. This, he adds, “suggests that the locus of intervention should be the neighborhood. That’s not to say that individuals are not important — it does say that you can get a lot more crime-reduction effect from a more population-based approach.”
Neighborhood-level interventions may not only cut down violence and crime but benefit communities in other ways, too. “These small — what we call ‘treatments,’ because of a public health perspective — have big effects on neighborhood life,” says Bernadette Hohl, an epidemiologist at Rutgers University. She says that residents are quick to realize that the...
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