Through our social media feeds and 24/7 news cycle, we are more aware of community violence than ever. The consistency of such reports has left many people feeling that the world is becoming a more dangerous place.
Statistics show that crime of all kinds, including violent crime, existed in the United States
significant declines through the early 2020s. However, the murder rate
increased dramatically (34%) between 2019 and 2021.. in the city of philadelphia,
surged 58% over the same period, hitting a record high of 562 in 2021.
Violence is a public health problem
Violence devastates the families and loved ones of its immediate victims, but it also sends shock waves through entire communities. It can have far-reaching effects on people’s health. It in the truest sense of the word
keeps people up at night. It can also:
• create chronic stress
increase people’s blood pressure and increase their risk of heart attack or stroke
• Leads to unhealthy behaviors such as
compulsive eating or drinking, smoking, and substance use
• Increase people’s risk of developing
chronic health conditions
such as asthma, high blood pressure, cancer and stroke
It has even been proven that racist violence occurs
The number of premature births and low birth weight in infants is increasing. And when violence targets people solely because of their identity, it doesn’t just traumatize the local community.
It affects the mental health of individuals at a national level.
There are things we can do to work together to stop violence
The causes of community violence are complex and different communities are affected in different ways. But there are
we can all follow.
For example, cleaning up neighborhoods has proven its worth
Significantly reduce gun violence. Removing the trash from vacant lots and planting grass and trees not only reduces crime but also reduces crime. It also helps alleviate depression and anxiety in the community.
If you want to talk to someone about gun safety but don’t know what to say,
here are some tips. And there are organizations that can help you
say something anonymously
if you are concerned that someone may commit violence or self-harm at a school.
Independence Blue Cross (Independence) is part of the Coalition to Save Lives, dedicated to addressing the crisis of violence in Philadelphia. It identifies functioning violence prevention programs and tries to reproduce them here. You can learn more by watching
this recent interview
with the managing director of the organization and their reading
Evidence-based solutions report.
We all dream of a world where we don’t have to worry about our safety, where not so many lives are cut, where vigils and protests are no longer necessary. And we should all work to make that vision a reality. But if we do it, we must do it too
Take care of us.
What can we do to take care of ourselves?
public spaces where you feel safe. Give comfort and take comfort from the people you care about. They may have exactly the same feelings as you. There is power in expressing your thoughts and feelings, and
It’s not healthy to keep them in bottles.
Stay tuned for the news
Give yourself a break. Don’t go back to it until you calm down.
There are things you can try
great stress reliever
Do yoga and meditate. But relaxation can be as simple as pausing to breathe, listening to music, cooking a meal, taking a walk, or creating. Whatever works for you, you should do it. For your own well-being.
5. Get help
There are many resources that can support individuals, families, and communities in dealing with violence and trauma, including:
• UpTheBlocka searchable service directory for Philadelphians
• 211a hotline for Pennsylvanians
• Network of Neighbors Responding to Violencewhich uses “Trauma Responders” to help communities in Philadelphia cope
American Psychological Association Resources for dealing with violence
Emergency number for emergencies: 1-800-985-5990
Don’t ignore your stress
If you suffer from panic attacks or chest pains, feel irritable on a regular basis, or are concerned about your mental or physical health,
It’s time to get help. Talk to your doctor and let them help you find the best solutions. Or contact a therapist directly.
Independence members can contact us
Behavioral Health Specialists
by using the
provider finder. They can also call the mental health number on the back of their membership card to speak to someone who can help them connect with care.
Everyone deserves to be protected from violence
We should not simply accept that community violence will always be a part of our lives. As Alice Walker – the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Literature for her novel The colour purple – said: “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have it.”
Even when reducing violence seems impossible, we can create a safer world if we build it together. And that starts with taking care of ourselves and each other.
This content was originally published on
About Dare Henry Moss
Dare Henry-Moss is a Health Equity Manager in the Health Equity Division at Independence Blue Cross. Dare earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Temple University and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Pennsylvania. She is obsessed with health research and has a passion for gender equality, racial justice, her hometown of Philadelphia and caring for her family. She believes it should be easier for everyone to make the health choices that are best for them.