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The Company You Keep? The Spillover Effects Of Gang Membership On Individual Gunshot Victimization In A Co‐Offending Network

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The effects of gang membership on individual social, behavior, cognitive, and health outcomes are well documented. Yet, research consistently has shown that gang membership and the boundaries of gangs are often fluid and amorphous. The current study examines how social proximity to a gang member in one's co‐offending network influences the probability of being a gunshot victim. We re‐create and analyze the social network of all individuals who were arrested, summonsed for a quality‐of‐life violation, and subjected to noncustodial police contacts in Newark, New Jersey, during a 1‐year time period (N = 10,531). A descriptive network analysis finds an extreme concentration of fatal and nonfatal gunshot injuries within a small social network: Nearly one third of all shootings in Newark occur in a network that contains less than 4 percent of the city's total population. Furthermore, a series of logistic regression models finds that being directly or indirectly linked to a gang member in one's co‐offending network has a significant effect on one's probability of being a gunshot victim. Implications of these findings for the study of gangs, gun violence, and a public health approach to violence are discussed.