Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Violence Prevention as Public Health Strategy

Yesterday I posted an article with the titled "Reducing Violence, Poverty in Chicago. What's the Plan?" in response to articles on the front page of major Chicago media.  Today in it's editorial page the Chicago Tribune writes "Chicago's Crime Epidemic: How can  you help?" and highlights mentoring as a solution.

That's not enough.

In past articles I've shown roles of hospitals and universities as anchor organizations who could influence the availability of youth and family support systems in the areas surrounding each institution.

Today my Twitter friend Valdis Krebs pointed me to an article titled "Modeling Contagion Through Social Networks to Explain and Predict Gunshot Violence in Chicago, 2006 to 2014" which I've added to my web library and recommend as "deeper learning" for anyone concerned with this problem.

Toward the end of the article the authors added this statement:

"A fully realized public health approach centered on subjects of gun violence includes focused violence reduction efforts that work in concert with efforts aimed at addressing the aggregate risk factors of gun violence, namely, the conditions that create such networks in the first place or otherwise determine which individuals are in such networks (eg, neighborhood disadvantage and failing schools)."

As readers look at the charts in research papers like this, and look for solutions to violence in Chicago and other cities, I encourage you to look at the two concept maps shown below.

The first shows supports kids need as they move from pre-school to jobs, over a 20 to 30 year period.
See the map here.


This second map shows that people raising kids in affluent areas have some of the same challenges as people in poor areas, however, as Robert Putnam says in his "Our Kids" book, they have more resources to help kids overcome those challenges.



These concept maps should serve as visual aids for leaders, volunteers, donors, policy makers, etc.

Throughout my articles I also use geographic maps, showing all of the high poverty areas of Chicago.

At each age level, pre-school through high school, kids in high poverty neighborhoods need a full range of supports, as illustrated by the two concept maps.

Mentoring by itself, can't help kids overcome the lack of these supports on a consistent basis as they grow up.  In many cases, without organized programs operating in different neighborhoods, volunteers representing different career options than what is most often modeled in high poverty neighborhoods, won't even be able to find ways to connect with youth.

My articles have been freely available on this blog since 2005 and on web sites since 1998. I'd love to see more leaders including visualizations and  maps in articles that show strategies and invite others to become involved....and that draw direct and on-going operating and innovation dollars to all of the organizations needed in every one of these high poverty areas.

If you're aware of people who do this, please share the link  in the comments section below.

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