Peer influence, social networks might be leveraged to aid gun violence reduction efforts

ScienceDaily | 8/19/2019 | Staff
tiazanne (Posted by) Level 3
VRS is a program that seeks to lower rates of gun violence in typically high-crime areas. The program seeks to do so by inviting participants with heightened risk of victimization to participate in a meeting known as a "call-in."

At the call-in, a collaborative group of criminal justice agencies, service providers and community members discuss the risk of victimization and the damage caused by gun violence to communities. The participants also may be referred or given information about local social service programs. Part of the program's design is that those invited to the call-in would hopefully carry this message back to those in their own social networks.

Study - VRS - Victimization - Participants - George

"In the study, we examined whether VRS reduced gunshot victimization among participants," said George Wood, first author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research and the Northwestern Neighborhood & Network Initiative. "We also evaluated the effect of VRS on the social peers of participants. While these peers did not participate in the program, they had social contact with a participant and may, therefore, have been affected by the program through spillover effects."

In total, 2,349 people were invited to participate in VRS from 2010-2016, 1,642 of whom attended a call-in meeting.

VRS - Victimization - Participants - Percentage - Points

VRS reduced gunshot victimization among participants by around 3.2 percentage points. Additionally, the spillover effects of VRS reduced gunshot victimization among the peers of participants by around 1.5 percentage points.

"Importantly, the program achieved these reductions while minimizing traditional law enforcement responses that can have a negative impact on communities," Wood said.

Finding - Wood

Perhaps the most illuminating finding, Wood said, is that although the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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