PHILADELPHIA - Sadly, many parents are unsure how to explain Philadelphia's gun violence to their children. There are several issues to consider, including the "law of crime concentration," which explains that shootings are more likely to occur in small, isolated locations, such as street corners or short blocks.
In addition, these hot spots are often static over time, so the same families often suffer repeated trauma over generations. This law is particularly evident in Philadelphia, where about 1.5 percent of the population lives in areas where homicides are twice as prevalent as in other areas. But there is more to consider.
Explaining Philadelphia's Gun Violence to Children
In the aftermath of recent tragedies, the school in Philadelphia should provide resources for students who are traumatized by the shooting. There is no way to ignore the problem, but teachers and school staff should create safe spaces where students can express their feelings and share their concerns. At the same time, they must acknowledge that gun violence affects everyone. And while the majority of school officials don't agree on gun control legislation, it's important to understand that children's emotional well-being depends on it.
Nonprofits are also addressing the issue of gun violence by addressing it from a family's perspective. The Day of Serenity, for example, pointed parents and kids to mental health resources. The NOMO Foundation, meanwhile, is holding weekly family trauma healing events. And a new teen committee has surveyed over 1300 students in Philadelphia and found that their top requests are improved gun laws and increased mental health services for children and parents.
Several resources provide information on the level of gun violence in Philadelphia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Brady Campaign, Every Town for Gun Safety, and the US General Accounting Office have all produced statistics on gun violence. You can also find other helpful resources by referring to the Center for Violence Prevention and the Center for Disease Control.