A new study from UF Health found most of the children shot in Jacksonville have come from the same neighborhoods. Researchers hope the data will help drive solutions that will protect our children.
Shawn Lee,15, was shot in the neck while riding his bike. “I was just scared. I thought I was going to die,” Lee said.
He’s one of several children shot in Jacksonville in February, including 7-year-old Tashawn Gallon who killed after he was caught in the middle of a shootout.
Violence involving our children is a disturbing trend we’ve seen before. But a new study from UF Health found that child shooting victims in our city have something in common.
Researchers found for 20 years straight, they’ve come from the same poor neighborhoods.
Children shot - some killed in Jacksonville. @ActionNewsJax investigates what most of our city's youngest shooting victims have had in common for 20 years straight. WATCH my special report NOW ON CBS47 & FOX 30 AT 11 @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/wyZ7TFVxCp— Tenikka Smith Hughes (@TenikkaANjax) February 28, 2018
Dr. Marie Crandall is a professor of surgery and associate chair for research at UF Health College of Medicine.
Dr. Crandall said, “We looked at 20 years of our patients who were shot between the ages of 0-18 in 1996 to 2016, so very recent data.”
Dr. Crandall led the research which is co-authored by Lilly Bayouth, Lori Gurien, and Joseph Tepas.
Dr. Crandall said between 1996 and 2016, nearly 900 child shooting victims ended up at their emergency room and were consistently from the poorest ZIP-codes in Jacksonville.
All of the recent child shootings in Jacksonville also happened in those same areas.
Dr. Crandall said, “We really need to understand the underpinnings of why violence is so expressed and over burdening in these communities and usually those are associated with things like housing, employment, educational opportunities.”
Dr. Crandall plans to take her research to JSO, city leaders and community groups to find solutions to improve conditions in these neighborhoods.
She also hopes it will create a push for resources to help those working in the trenches every day.
Anti-violence advocate Donald Foy of the non-profit MAD DADS agrees.
“We’ve got to pour more resources into these low-income neighborhoods,” Foy said.
Sheriff Mike Williams says policing alone won’t solve this problem.
“In the cities that have been successful, you’ve seen creative energetic partnerships with the community and that leads the way in getting over that challenge once and for all,” Williams said.
Ben Frazier of the Northside Coalition has also been outspoken about crime in Jacksonville and hopes the study prompts meaningful action.
Frazier said, “We need to stop having news conferences to discuss our disdain and disgust we need to do something about it we need to come up with some short-term solutions to the problems.”
We reached out to Mayor Lenny Curry’s office about this study and received the following statement:
“Public safety has been and continues to be the top priority for Mayor Curry. Throughout his administration, he has engaged with citizens and conducted walks in specific communities with disproportionately high rates of crime, violence, and even health disparities. In addition to supporting the needs identified by JSO for public safety improvements, the mayor developed a “Safer Neighborhoods Investment Plan” in this year’s budget that allocates funding and resources for projects and efforts designed to improve the conditions of our most vulnerable citizens and communities. Improving the outcomes for Jacksonville children is as equally important to Mayor Curry, as evidenced by the establishment of the Kids Hope Alliance (KHA). Launched in August 2017, KHA was created to strengthen and bolster programs and services that meet the critical needs of Jacksonville children.”
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