Journal of Sustainable Social Change




Violence is considered a public health problem in the United States, yet little is known about the benefit of using a combined epidemiology and criminology (EpiCrim) approach to focus on urban youth gun violence. The purpose of this general qualitative study was to determine in what ways Akers and Lanier’s EpiCrim approach, in tandem with Benet’s polarities of democracy approach, is explanatory of gun homicides by youth in U.S. urban areas and if the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System adequately addresses gun abatement measures. I collected data through semi-structured interviews with 16 criminal justice practitioners and medical professionals with experience relative to juvenile justice policies pertaining to gun violence. After inductively coding the interview data, I performed a thematic analysis procedure. The findings indicate that EpiCrim provides a platform to focus research efforts on complex issues that are drivers for behavioral risk factors associated with youth gun violence in urban areas. EpiCrim research can provide data that help identify the root cause of youth gun violence in urban areas, and the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System does not fully address gun abatement measures.