Jersey signed by 17 year old homicide victim Devin Sesay's teammates and presented to his mother
Eleven months ago, we released our Voices of the Survivors: Louisville Metro Violent Crime Impact Report, which examined the emotional and financial impact of violent crime on individuals, families, and communities in Louisville. Our report found that, as one might expect, the toll of violent crime was significant. Survivors of non-fatal gunshot wounds and surviving family members of homicide victims continue to struggle with these impacts long after hospital visits and funerals.
Two new reports, one local and one from the Health Affairs Journal, continue to shed light on the struggles faced by victims of violent crime.
Locally, 2X Game Changers, a Louisville non-profit headed up by community activist Christopher 2X released a report entitled Violence: Impact on Children Learning, which focused on the children and families directly impacted by violent crime as well as those affected by growing up in neighborhoods plagued by violent crime and gunshots. The families expressed concerns ranging from issues of trust to feeling a lack of safety in their neighborhood and home. In the report, behavioral therapist Jerron Jones notes that kids suffering from trauma often have a “hard time developing relationships.”
This observation is consistent with the findings of a new article in Health Affairs that finds increased social isolation among individuals living in high crime communities. In 2018, the authors conducted in-person interviews with 504 adults in Chicago’s South Side and West Side communities. They found that “prior exposure to community violence was associated with a 3.3-point reduction (on a 100-point scale) in the frequency of interaction with network confidantes, a 7.3-point reduction in perceived social support from friends, and a 7.8-point increase in loneliness.”
Social isolation can result in adverse heath effects ranging from cognitive decline to depression.
The initial cost of violent crime is evident in the loss of life or dramatic decline in quality of life – however, the isolation and fear that survivors of violent crime and communities plagued by violent crime continue to experience present challenges in trying to break the cycle of violence and trying to reduce violent crime.
13 year old gunshot wound survivor Tay Reed in March 2015 recovering from his injuries
From 2003-2017, there were 1,018 murders in Jefferson County. There were another 3,048 individuals admitted to University of Louisville Hospital for gunshot wounds over that period. Tens of thousands of Louisville residents live in neighborhoods plagued by violent crime.
Reducing violent crime doesn’t just mean fewer murders and shootings, it means more social engagement and better social outcomes for the children of Louisville.
*I currently serve as a Board Member of 2X Game Changers.