Neighborhood Perceptions of Gun Violence and Safety: Findings from a Public Health-Social Work Intervention

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Neighborhood Perceptions of Gun Violence and Safety: Findings from a Public Health-Social Work Intervention

Category: Firearm Policies|Journal: Social Work in Public Health (full text)|Author: E Hardiman, L Cestone, L Jones|Year: 2019

Efforts to reduce gun violence have moved away from models that rely solely on law enforcement approaches, toward public health-focused models of intervention. This paper discusses urban gun violence from a public health and social work perspective, examining a method to interrupt, reduce and prevent gun violence at the community level. A qualitative research design was utilized to evaluate perceptions held by thirty-seven community members regarding the impact of a gun and related violence prevention program, Albany SNUG. Five key findings emerged from the data analysis: 1) Violence was viewed as significant, widespread and a source of despair and hopelessness; 2) Residents perceived a lack of resources and opportunities within the community; 3) There was general consensus regarding the program’s importance to the community; 4) There were several obstacles and challenges to program implementation as identified by participants; and 5) Community involvement and shared responsibility were viewed as central to the reduction of gun and related violence. Recommendations for practice and policy changes and the potential role for social work in future collective efficacy and social change initiatives are also discussed.

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