Association between race, shooting hot spots, and the surge in gun violence during the COVID-19 pandemic in Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles

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Association between race, shooting hot spots, and the surge in gun violence during the COVID-19 pandemic in Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles

Category: Crime|Journal: Preventive Medicine (full text)|Author: G Mohler, J MacDonald, P Brantingham|Year: 2022

Gun violence rates increased in U.S. cities in 2020 and into 2021. Gun violence rates in U.S. cities is typically concentrated in racially segregated neighborhoods with higher poverty levels. However, poverty levels and demographics alone do not explain the high concentration of violence or its relative change over time. In this paper, we examine the extent to which the increase in shooting victimization in Philadelphia, New York, and Los Angeles during the 2020–2021 pandemic was concentrated in gun violence hot spots, and how the increase impacted race and ethnic disparities in shooting victimization rates. We find that 36% (Philadelphia), 47% (New York), and 55% (Los Angeles) of the increase in shootings observed during the period 2020–2021 occurred in the top decile of census block groups, by aggregate number of shootings, and that the race/ethnicity of victims in these gun violence hot spots were disproportionately Black and Hispanic. We discuss the implications of these findings as they relate to racial disparities in victimization and place-based efforts to reduce gun violence.

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