New Study Suggests Gun Violence Maybe Contagious

What if gun violence was just as contagious as the flu? While this sounds as strange as an episode of Netflix’s Black Mirror, researchers at Yale University discover a link between gun violence and other contagious diseases.

Gun Violence Chicago
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CHICAGO, USA – JUL 17: Policeman arrested a homeless man on Michigan Avenue in Downtown Chicago. July 17, 2010 in Chicago, USA. (MaxyM /

In 2016, Chicago experienced 762 murders and over a thousand shootings. The worst history of gun violence in over twenty years. In fact, those primarily affected by violence attributed to guns lived in the inner city and urban areas of the city. Now, researchers at the Yale University have published a study in the “Journal of American Medical Association” showing how “contagious” gun violence is in America.

Yale University Gun Violence
Stock Photo: New Haven – May 18: Yale University graduation ceremonies on Commencement Day on May 18, 2015. Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701

Associate professor of sociology, Andrew Papachristos, and his team of researchers analyzed the social networks of men and women who were arrested over the course of 8-years in Chicago, Illinois. Researchers discovered that a person was the greatest risk of getting shot 125 days after the person most responsible for putting them in harm is subjected to gun violence.

Researchers argue that type of violence is not only a problem but also follows a pattern. Ultimately, the person with a large group of friends who have become a victim of gun violence are also more likely to get shot. With that being said, researchers were not able to prove that gun violence is actually “contagious”.

However, Papachristos explained that it is important that we understand the timing of these events in order to identify victims and where provide programs to reduce violence in historically violent areas.

Can gun violence be stopped?

Gun Violence
Stock Photo: SANAA, YEMEN – MARCH 22, 2012: Children playing with toy guns on the street of Sanaa (

The U.S. government is still working on a solution to stop gun violence. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a program to help reduce gun and gang violence in America by working with existing programs that target crime. Since 2001, nearly $2 billion has been used to decrease violence in America. In turn, Project Safe Neighborhoods led to the creation of Baltimore’s “Safe Streets” program. Ultimately, the Safe Streets led to a decrease in bloodshed by using conflict mediations led by program outreach workers.

However, recent a study published in the “Journal of Quantitative Criminology” called Deterring Gang-Involved Gun Violence found Boston Operation Ceasefire – a program designed to help eliminate violence by helping at risk youth – had little direct evidence of actually positively impacting the community.