Understanding Gun Violence Victimization and Perpetration among School-Age Youth in Philadelphia

The Challenge

The gun violence epidemic is among the most pressing problems facing Philadelphians today, and far too often young people are involved as both victims and perpetrators.  More than one-third of all Philadelphia shooting victims are school-age youth, and the majority of the city’s youth shooting victims are active or former School District of Philadelphia (SDP) students. To date, research exploring predictors of youth gun violence victimization and perpetration has not fully considered the role of educational factors, including enrollment, transitions, attendance, and discipline.  A deeper understanding of this complex problem is necessary to navigate the epidemic and strengthen supports for young people.

The Project

Brandy Blasko is working within the SDP’s Office of School Safety to: 1) examine the primary drivers of gun violence victimization and perpetration among the SDP’s current and former students; 2) strengthen the city’s understanding of the connections between individual, community, and educational factors and their relationship to gun violence; and 3) potentially inform policy and practice to preserve the safety of young people in and around the Philadelphia schools.

The Stoneleigh Fellowship will enable Brandy to:

  • Integrate data on individual shooting incidents with school records, allowing the School District and individual schools to make informed day-to-day safety planning decisions.
  • Aggregate school- and community-level data to form a comprehensive report on victimization and perpetration among the city’s school-age youth.
  • Conduct a spatial data analysis to identify high-risk times and locations for youth shooting incidents across the City of Philadelphia.

Brandy Blasko, PhD

Stoneleigh Fellow

2023 – 2026

School District of Philadelphia, Office of School Safety



Project Updates