Guns and Sublethal Violence: A Comparative Study of At-Risk Youth in Two Canadian Cities

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Guns and Sublethal Violence: A Comparative Study of At-Risk Youth in Two Canadian Cities

Category: Crime, Firearm Availability, Homicide, Injury, International|Journal: International Criminal Justice Review (full text)|Author: J Butters, J Sheptycki, P Erickson, S Brochu|Year: 2011

This study is the first in Canada to examine gun usage and harm to others, with original interview data, and aims to identify the correlates of sublethal violence among at-risk youth in Toronto and Montreal. Toronto youth showed 50% higher levels of this violence than Montreal youth. Despite having a common profile of conduct disorder and prior delinquency, Toronto youth were more involved in drug selling and the crack trade, and Montreal youth more likely involved in gang fighting. Ready access to firearms was reported in both locales but faster in Toronto. Logistic regression analysis for predicting using a gun to threaten or try to harm others found that drug selling was only significant in Toronto, while involvement in the crack trade and gang fighting was significant in both cities. Being able to obtain a gun in <3 hours was also significantly associated with this violence outcome in both sites. Actually harming someone with a weapon showed fewer common factors, with only gang fighting being significant in both cities. The importance of examining local patterns of youth violence, and the need for more research to assess the meanings youth impart to guns, is emphasized.

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