All people, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, deserve to live in neighborhoods that are safe and free of violence. Overall violence, and gun violence victimization in particular, is not randomly distributed, however. Rather, gun violence is heavily concentrated in just a small number of higher-need communities and overwhelmingly cuts short the lives of young Black men.
Some neighborhoods are more susceptible to gun violence as a result of decades of discriminatory housing, lending and land-use policy; outmigration and the impacts of deindustrialization and economic restructuring; the crack-cocaine epidemic and the ensuing War
on Drugs; and persistent disinvestment and abandonment. Additionally, the absence of stricter firearm control in the United States has led to interpersonal crime that is far more likely to turn deadly than in other countries with similar levels of crime but much lower rates of gun ownership.
Using data from the Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner (ACOME), I analyzed homicide trends from 2016 through 2021; I did this for my day job as an analyst at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services. Homicides make up about a quarter of gun violence each year, with non-fatal shootings accounting for most gun violence. As such, I also used data from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police (PBP) to analyze trends in non-fatal shootings. The full report can be accessed here.
I also built out this interactive homicide map which allows users to examine homicide trend data in Allegheny County from 2007 through 2021 by location, block group, census tract, and municipality.