During 2017, gun homicides and accidents killed 15,549 Americans; out of that number, only 433 were killed in mass shootings.
Can you tell by the media coverage?
Gun violence in the US falls disproportionately on African-Americans: 13% of the US population, but more than half of gun homicide victims.
These deaths are overwhelmingly concentrated in disadvantaged communities and in black males.
Chester’s murder rate in 2017 was 85/100,000, compared with 3/100,000 for the rest of Delaware County.
The Chester murder rate for young men 15-34 is roughly 385/100,000
-- higher than the average hostile death rate for combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan (315/100,000).
If these rates continue into the future, roughly one out of every 13 boys in Chester will be killed before reaching age 35
What other population sees that many young, otherwise healthy, people struck down in their youth?
This is trauma.
The shootings, the injuries, the murders, the constant stress of feeling unsafe wears on everyone, physically, emotionally and mentally. It breaks people down. It makes people angry. It makes people sick. It makes people poor-- literally: property values go down; businesses refuse to come into the community; there are fewer jobs; school quality is lower; medical costs are higher.
This is a grim picture, but there are solutions. Solutions that have been tested. Solutions that are proven. Solutions that work in communities just like Chester.
At the Chester Community Coalition, we are pursuing one of these solutions: healing the trauma of violence. We plan to do this in three ways:
- Treating trauma with free group therapy for those who have been shot or have had a close family member murdered
- Interrupting violence interruption with crisis response teams
- Preventing violence through peer education on trauma
This newsletter provides insights on the roots of this complex issue as it pertains to the City of Chester. It also provides content covering our work over the past year toward these goals, how we came to these goals and where we are headed next.
Welcome, and thank you for your support!
- The Chester Community Coalition