Thursday, November 21, 2013

Homicide Risk Associated With Who You Know

Arms and the Law linked to this November 14, 2013 U.S. News & World Report article about a recent study of homicides in a high risk neighborhood in Chicago:
Andrew Papachristos, an associate professor of sociology at Yale, analyzed police and gun homiciderecords from 2006 to 2011 for people living in a high-crime neighborhood in Chicago. He found that 41 percent of all gun homicides occurred within a network of less than 4 percent of the neighborhood's population, and that the closer one is connected to a homicide victim, the greater that person's chances were for becoming a victim. Each social tie removed from a homicide victim decreased a person's odds of becoming a victim by 57 percent.
"What the findings essentially tell you is that the people who are most at risk of becoming a victim are sort of surrounded by victims within a few handshakes," Papachristos says. "These are young men who are actively engaged in the behaviors that got them in this network."...
Overall, the community's five-year homicide rate was 39.7 per 100,000 people, which was still much higher than the averages of other areas of Chicago (14.7 per 100,000). But being a part of that network of co-offenders, essentially just being arrested, raised the rate to by nearly 50 percent, to 55.2 per 100,000. What's more, being in a network with a homicide victim increased the homicide rate by 900 percent, to 554.1 per 100,000.
This is not terribly surprising.  Most urban murders are gang-related.  Living in gang-dominated neighborhoods is still quite dangerous, but the less association you have with gang members, the safer you are.


  1. It's kind of sad that our tax dollars paid for this "research" - which merely confirms the obvious.

  2. Dennis Prager says that studies either confirm common sense or they are wrong. The benefit of having tax dollars pay for this is that the risk of murder is now measurable based on risky behavior, rather than some vague assertion of risk due to guns in the home, and having a study that proves it helps to convince the people who need a study to believe what common sense tells them.