Individuals living in communities where violence is prevalent are at increased risk for a broad range of negative health and behavior outcomes. In the context of gun violence prevention, research suggests that living in violent communities compromises residents’ ability to break intergenerational cycles of violence. Without large-scale interventions, a neighborhood becomes effectively unable to protect itself against the perpetuation of a culture that is normed in violence. As one observer has noted, there is no post in the post-traumatic stress experienced by many.
Across the three domains – learning and development, mental health and behavior, and chronic illness – research consistently links violence exposure with outcomes that predispose individuals to be less likely to be healthy and raise healthy children, less likely to live in safe communities, and less likely to complete their schooling and maintain employment.