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Wed Jan 4, 2017, 01:57 PM

Gunshot wounds are contagious; bullets spread like the flu, study finds

Source: Arstechnica

Gun violence can ripple through social networks and communities just like an infectious germ, Harvard and Yale researchers reported Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine. This may not seem surprising, because earlier work has found that gun violence often clusters in certain areas and groups, particularly those steeped in gangs and drugs. But this study is the first to show that gun violence spreads directly from person to person after shootings—it’s not just about growing up in the same rough neighborhood or having the same risk factors.

The finding is good news, because, after decades of research, scientists are pretty good at predicting how infections cascade through populations. Applying disease-based theories and simulations to gun violence could help health workers get ahead of bullets and intervene before violence spreads. A more informed strategy could also cut down on intervention tactics that “rest largely on geographic or group-based policing efforts that tend to disproportionately affect disadvantaged minority communities,” the authors argue.

For the study, the researchers, led by sociologist Andrew Papachristos at Yale, dug into gunshot and arrest data from Chicago, covering the years between 2006 and 2014. The Windy City, which made headlines over the recent holidays for having more than 100 gunshot victims, is much like other big US cities in that its gun violence is intensely concentrated in specific neighborhoods.

Peering into arrest records, the researchers focused on 138,163 people that they considered part of a large social network, which the researchers based on people arrested together (the network represented 29.9 percent of those arrested in Chicago during the study period). Of those, 9,773 people were involved in 11,123 gun violence incidents, both fatal and nonfatal.

Read more: http://arstechnica.com/science/2017/01/gunshot-wounds-are-contagious-bullets-spread-like-the-flu-study-finds/

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Response to NWCorona (Original post)

Wed Jan 4, 2017, 02:00 PM

1. We always knew that gun violence is geographically concentrated

the vast majority of Americans live in places were gun violence is very rare.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 4, 2017, 02:07 PM

3. The whole point is that it is not geographically concentrated, it is socially concentrated

 

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Response to HoneyBadger (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 4, 2017, 02:14 PM

4. Sort of a chicken and egg kind of thing

every major city has a website where you can look at crime reports superimposed over google maps - Boston and New York have been doing it for nearly a decade. It is very clear how unevenly distributed crime of any kind is. The question is whether violent people naturally congregate together or whether living in certain environments produces desperate violent people.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 4, 2017, 02:17 PM

5. In the same area, you have lots of people that are geographically linked but not

 

Socially linked, that were not involved. That was my takeaway, however implicit.

Or to dispute the realtor's mantra. It is not location, location, location.

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Response to HoneyBadger (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 4, 2017, 02:22 PM

6. You can't deny the geographic component

the odds of being you being an innocent victim of a violent crime very much depends on where you are. If it is purely due to social networks then the question becomes why such violent social networks are geographically concentrated. Desperate poverty, high unemployment and poor education would be my guess.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 4, 2017, 09:06 PM

8. When 87% of those involved are pre identified based on arrest records

 

Innocence is gone. Yet, there are hundreds of thousands of people in the same physical vicinity who are innocent and not involved. I assume that they endure similar poverty, unemployment and education concerns.

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Response to HoneyBadger (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 4, 2017, 11:08 PM

9. It is amazing how such a tiny percentage of people are responsible for much of violent crime

which is why focusing on people instead of guns is so effective - it significantly reduces the size of the problem.

You are absolutely right - the vast percentage of Americans regardless of where they live will never resort to violent crime.

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Response to NWCorona (Original post)

Wed Jan 4, 2017, 02:06 PM

2. Data science is amazing

 

They were able to pre identify 87% (9773/11123) of the people that would be involved in FUTURE Chicago gun violence. And given that they used arrest records, I suspect that most were probably not legal gun owners. If they were commodity exchange traders, they would all be billionaires.

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Response to HoneyBadger (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 4, 2017, 02:35 PM

7. The strings at our feet connect us in was we didn't think possible

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