Research finds street gang activity is a predictor of homicide in LA neighborhoods

Mar 12, 2009

Neighborhoods saddled with gangs fighting over the same turf suffer higher homicide rates and greater instability than areas where the gangs are scarce, according to a recent study by researchers at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science.

The study—featured online this week in the Journal of : Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine—examined how the presence of neighborhood street influences rates in communities throughout Los Angeles County.

"We found the most homicides in where you find the most gangs," said Paul Robinson, the lead researcher in the study. "In these communities, gang members fight with automatic and semi-automatic , and killings often occur in public places. This is not domestic homicide, or random serial killings. It's mayhem on the street and it's an issue of public health."

The study found that the presence of gangs—with their long term cultural and historic ties in neighborhoods—was a greater predictor of homicides than poverty and unemployment.

Using data from the Los Angeles County Coroners, the research analyzed all 10,880 homicides in Los Angeles County between 1994 and 2002.

Over the eight-year period, the study found 3.4 homicides per square mile in neighborhoods without significant gang involvement where more than 4 million people lived. On the other hand, the study found 61.1 homicides per square mile in neighborhoods with 30 or more gangs in a two mile radius.

These gang-plagued areas were home to about 460,000 persons, but contributed a disproportionate share of homicides.

"Homicides taking place inside homes don't have the same impact," he said. "Also, are more likely to spur retributive violence, leading to concentrated homicide clusters."

Combating the problem, Robinson said, will require more funding for gang intervention programs, educational support and employment assistance for young men, among other things.

Source: Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science

Explore further: Less privileged kids shine at university, according to study

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study explodes myths of gang life

Jul 15, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Two years of field work with members of six English gangs has produced one of the most revealing portraits of their lives, exploding distorted stereotypes of their culture.

Researchers study hidden homicide trend

Jun 26, 2008

Gun-related homicide among young men rose sharply in the United States in recent years even though the nation's overall homicide rate remained flat, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School ...

Study questions obesity conclusions

Nov 06, 2006

A controversial study from the University of Toronto questions earlier research concluding that obesity in the United States can be predicted by zip code.

Recommended for you

Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

Dec 18, 2014

Analysis of the results of a large-scale survey reveals the extent of truancy in English secondary schools and sheds light on the mental health of the country's teens.

Fewer lectures, more group work

Dec 18, 2014

Professor Cees van der Vleuten from Maastricht University is a Visiting Professor at Wits University who believes that learning should be student centred.

How to teach all students to think critically

Dec 18, 2014

All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills. ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Sour
5 / 5 (1) Mar 12, 2009
I nominate this study for 2009's "Greatest Waste of Research Grant Money" award.

Also known as the "No S**t, Sherlock Award for Research Into The Obvious"
mforbes21
5 / 5 (1) Mar 12, 2009
Darn, Sour beat me to the punch.

Honestly, how much "research" did it take to make this groundbreaking discovery?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.