Community member perspectives on gun violence intervention in the Southeast United States
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College of Charleston, United States
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1912
Introduction: South Carolina ranks 8th in the United States for its firearm death rates. Black non-Hispanic residents have the highest firearm death rates and when combined with sex, Black non-Hispanic men have a firearm death rate that is nearly nine times the rate of White non-Hispanic women. The rate of murders in South Carolina increased by 22.1% in 2020, the highest rate since 1993, identifying an urgent need for intervention. The purpose of this research was to learn more from community members regarding the necessary steps to achieve a reduction in local gun violence. Methods: We conducted an online survey of community members, law enforcement and local government in the tri-county Charleston area regarding steps to reduce local gun violence (n=90). Participants were recruited to the study based on advertisements at local gun violence events, email and targeted social media ads. The survey was conducted through Qualtrics and took approximately 30 minutes to complete. Results: A majority of participants identified as white (n=79) and having at least a bachelor’s degree (n=48). The political affiliation of participants included a wide mix of those identifying as liberal and conservative. Over half of participants identified as concerned community members, with 29% being medical professionals (n=26). Participants ranked the most important initiative to focus on as offer youth at risk for gun violence social resources and mentor services. Discussion: The greatest consensus on gun violence areas to focus on included mentorship, resources, and programming for at-risk youth. This strategy aligns with reducing community gun violence in that those most affected are young adults. Despite collaborating with a grassroots community organization for recruitment, the demographics of participants indicate that this sample was overrepresented by white community members with college degrees. Future research should examine the specific needs of communities most affected by gun violence.
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