Objective: To assess the degree to which inner-city high school students are victimized by threat of or actual firearm attack.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Setting: Ten inner-city high schools in five cities in four states.
Participants: A total of 1653 male and female inner-city high school students responding anonymously.
Selection procedures: Volunteer, convenience sample.
Measurements and results: Twenty-three percent of respondents were classified as victims. Major variables predicting victimization levels were gender, number of siblings, exposure to violence outside of school, and personal violence-related attributes. Only one in 10 victimizations appeared to be random (ie, not predicted by these variables).
Conclusions: Violence in school is brought into, rather than generated by, the school. Victimized students have characteristics that put them at higher risk of victimization than other students. Given the large number of victimizations and the large number of respondents with risk characteristics, intervention at the individual level seems ineffective. Instead, alteration of community social structure and culture appears to be the appropriate, although difficult, avenue of change for gun-related victimization levels.