New Research Makes Connection Between Real Life Social Networks and Risk of Violence

New research out of Yale University suggests that a person’s real life social network has more influence over one’s risk of gun violence than previously thought.

In a recent edition of the American Journal of Public Health, researcher Andrew Papachristos, shared his findings from a study based on police and gun homicide reports for residents living within a six-square mile area in Chicago from 2006 to 2011. Here’s what he found:

  • Six percent of the population studied was involved in 70 percent of the murders
  • Nearly all of that six percent had some previous contact with criminal justice or public health systems
  • Those six percent had a whopping 900 percent increased risk of becoming a victim of gun homicide

Quoted on, Papachristos elaborates on his findings:

“Generally, you can’t catch a bullet from just anyone. Your relationship with the people involved matters. It’s not unlike needle sharing or unprotected sex in the spread of HIV.”

Deanna Wilkinson, a national criminology expert out of Ohio State University, has made similar findings in her research. In a presentation she did to the Forum on Global Violence Prevention, National Academy of Science Institute of Medicine in 2012, Wilkinson shared that about two thirds of youth violence is group behavior–supporting Papachristos’ finding that the company you keep influences your risk of violence.

>>Read more about the Papachristos study on Futurity:

>>Read the full study in the American Journal of Public Health:[Contrib%3A+Papachristos]&searchHistoryKey=