Lethal and Non-Lethal Gun Violence and Neighborhoods: The Relationship Between Ecological and Individual Longitudinal Approaches to Guns, Gangs, and Drug Dealing

Rolf Loeber, University of Pittsburgh
Jacqueline Cohen, Carnegie Mellon University
Per-Olof H. Wikstrom, Cambridge University
David P. Farrington, University of Cambridge
Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, University of Pittsburgh

Lethal and non-lethal violence is often concentrated in certain neighborhoods of cities. This paper addresses ecological and individual factors that contribute to such concentration, and tests Blumstein's thesis that the rise in gun-related violence is associated with the combination of gun availability and drug dealing. Data are used from two sources: longitudinal data from 1,517 males in the Pittsburgh Youth Study, and city-wide police data on gun-related violence and delinquent offending among 12-25 year-olds. An earlier study on homicide offenders in the sample (N = 29) concentrated on predictors of violence, and predictors of homicide among violent offenders (Loeber et al., 2001). The majority (83%) of the homicide offenders were black males. This paper put these findings and other findings from the Pittsburgh Youth Study on gun-related nonlethal violence in an ecological context. The paper shows the degree to which gun carrying, gang activity, and drug dealing covary, first, with gun-related violence among young males in the community and, second, with gun-related violence by males in the Pittsburgh Youth Study. The paper demonstrates which individual characteristics and which ecological factors (measured for the individual and for the neighborhood in which the individual lives) best predict gun-related violence.

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Updated 05/20/2006