In a new video, a Yale sociologist shows how relationships spread risk.

What if you could predict your chances of being shot from your social network: who you know and how you know them? Turns out, maybe you can.

The Cornell Square Park shooting September 19, in which two men wounded 13 by firing indiscriminately into a public park, has added new urgency to the discussion about violent crime in Chicago. It's no secret that some parts of the city are much safer than others. As Noah Berlatsky pointed out last week, there's a strong racial and socioeconomic component to the geography of violent crime in Chicago. Those living on the city's South Side, where the shooting took place, face some of the highest violent crime and murder rates in the nation without, counterintuitively, any nearby hospital trauma unit to deal with the effects. At the same time, for those worried about being the victim of a violent crime, it's not as simple as some neighborhoods being "safe" and others being "unsafe."

Watch this video below, produced by NowThis News: Yale's Andrew Papachristos points out that, in the West Side of Chicago, almost all the residents share the "risk factors" for getting caught up in violent crime, and yet "most of the people in those communities don't get shot." The secret to understanding how violent crime spreads, he says, may lie in social network analysis (an idea also explored in The Atlantic's October issue). The analogy that will stay with you comes when Papachristos compares violence to a specifically bloodborne pathogen: You can't catch it from just anyone, he argues. Your relationship with the people involved matters.

Top image: Milos Dizajn/Shutterstock; Jose Luis Gonzales/Reuters

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of Zurich, Switzerland
    Life

    Death to Livability!

    What does it really mean when certain kinds of cities keep getting ranked as the world’s “most livable”?

  2. A photo of Donald Trump in the Oval Office, with HUD Secretary Ben Carson.
    Equity

    Don’t Call Trump’s Housing Order a YIMBY Plan

    The president just signed an executive order calling for states and cities to pursue zoning reform. But affordable housing advocates aren’t celebrating.

  3. A rendering of Quayside, the waterfront development now being planned for Toronto.
    Solutions

    A Big Master Plan for Google's Growing Smart City

    Google sibling company Sidewalk Labs has revealed its master plan for the controversial Quayside waterfront development—and it’s a lot bigger.

  4. Design

    Revisiting Pittsburgh’s Era of Big Plans

    A conversation with the trio of authors behind a new book about the Steel City’s mid-20th-century transformation.

  5. Four young adults exercise in a dark, neon-lit gym.
    Life

    Luxury Gyms Invite You to Work Out, Hang Out, Or Just Work

    With their invite-only policies and coworking spaces, high-end urban gyms aspire to be fitness studio, social club, and office rolled into one.

×