Gun Assault Rates Doubled for Children in 4 Major Cities During the Pandemic, New Data Shows

by | May 4, 2023 | Health

Rates of gun assaults on children roughly doubled during the covid-19 pandemic, according to a study that looked at gun deaths and injuries in four major cities. Black children were the most frequent victims.

A wider analysis from Boston University included a review of gun assaults between mid-March 2020 and December 2021 in Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and New York. It found that Black children were 100 times as likely as white children to be victims of fatal and nonfatal shootings. Pre-pandemic, they were 27 times as likely. Researchers excluded accidental shootings and incidents of self-harm.

Study author Jonathan Jay, who studies urban health, said the team looked at the rates to understand whether some children were at higher risk than others.

“We knew that children of color, even before the pandemic, were more likely than non-Hispanic white children to be shot, and we also knew that child gun victimization seemed to be increasing during the pandemic,” Jay said. “But no one had looked at how racial disparities in child victimization might have been changing.”

The researchers are still unpacking pandemic-specific factors that may have driven the change, he said. Some of the influences they’re considering include “stress associated with job losses, school closures, loss of access to certain kinds of services that closed down,” he said. “Also, really visible police violence, especially against people of color. Loss of loved ones and family members to covid-19 virus.” …

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