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Half of Chicagoans See Gun Violence Before Age 40

Gun violence is an ongoing problem in the city of Chicago. Now, a new study finds 56% of the city’s Black and Hispanic population, and 25% of Whites, witness a shooting by the age of 40. Researchers say residents were, on average, 14 years-old when they saw their first shooting. The findings add to growing concerns that people witnessing constant shootings may have chronic stress and other health issues related to violence.

Researchers say, “Our findings are frankly startling and disturbing. A substantial portion of Chicago’s population could be living with trauma as a result of witnessing shootings and homicides, often at a very young age. ... Since 2016 we have seen another surge in gun violence. Rates of fatal shootings in Chicago are now higher than they ever were in the nineties.”

Over seven percent of Black and Hispanic Chicagoans were shot before turning 40, compared to three percent of White people. On average, these residents were struck by gunfire by age 17.

While Chicago was the example for this study, it is not the only place in America experiencing the effects of increasing gun violence. The team believes these public health consequences apply to cities experiencing upticks in shootings across the U.S.

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