Illegal Firearm Availability and Violence: Neighborhood-Level Analysis

Sung suk Violet Yu, Daiwon Lee, Jesenia Pizarro-Terrill

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Scopus citations


    Violence involving firearms poses a serious threat to public safety in urban areas. The present study examines how illegal firearm availability (IFA) is related to firearm violence at the neighborhood level. We analyzed 3 years (from 2005 to 2007) of recovered firearm and violent index crime data from Newark, New Jersey. Violent index crime is separated into three categories by level of firearm use: shootings, display of firearm violence (DFV), and no-firearm violence (NFV). Negative binominal regression was conducted to examine the relationship between IFA and firearm violence at the neighborhood level while controlling for neighborhood conditions. Firearm violence is prevalent in Newark: over 90% of homicides and 47% of robberies were committed with a firearm. IFA is related to increased shootings and NFV, but not to DFV. IFA is a robust predictor of shootings in Newark, New Jersey. Neighborhood conditions influence IFA and firearm violence. IFA may reflect neighborhood distress level, given that areas with high IFA experience increased firearm violence as well as NFV. The local clustering of violent crime suggests placed-focused policing strategies aimed at removing firearms would aid in curbing serious firearm violence in urban neighborhoods.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)3986-4012
    Number of pages27
    JournalJournal of interpersonal violence
    Issue number19-20
    StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


    • and neighborhood conditions
    • gun violence
    • illegal firearm availability
    • shootings

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Clinical Psychology
    • Applied Psychology


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