Firearm violence is an urgent threat to public health in the United States (US). Recently, several high-profile mass shootings have garnered public attention and interest in solutions. However, there remains no consensus on the criteria that defines a mass shooting. From the perspective of urban neighborhoods, it is likely the number of people injured within a proximate time and space, which determines the event's impact on perceptions of safety and social cohesion.
PISC Scholars, Sara Jacoby, Beidi Dong, and Christopher Morrison, along with researchers from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania, aimed to describe the incidence of “neighborhood” mass shootings in one US city and to determine how these events were communicated to the public through news media. Results showed neighborhood mass shooting victims were more likely to be younger and female compared to other firearm-injured individuals. Seven (15%) events received no news media attention, and 30 (77%) of the 39 reported events were covered solely in local/regional news. Only one event was named a “mass shooting” in any associated headline. In Philadelphia, neighborhood mass shootings occur multiple times per year but receive limited media coverage.