An informal survey of young people in urban Pittsburgh neighborhoods found that nearly 80 percent have had family or friends wounded or killed by gun violence — a number the report calls “staggering,” says the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Some 455 students ages 9 to 18 participated in the written survey. The national average of young people experiencing all forms of violence is 60 percent, said a 2009 report from the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. “I knew it was bad, but I didn’t think it was this bad,” said the Rev. Ronald E. Peters, director of the Metro-Urban Institute and author of the questionnaire.
More than half the respondents were ages 15 to 19. This group had the most experience with gun violence, with 86 percent reporting a friend or relative having been shot or killed. Asked for two ways to stop street violence, the largest proportion (18 percent) cited banning or controlling guns. After that came more community activities, no solution, more police, staying off the streets , and jobs/education. Of the 52 respondents who had no suggestions, many believed the violence had escalated to a point where it could never be stopped. “This speaks that our children know the situation is out of their control,” said the Rev. Peters.