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Guest opinion: Nina Krishanaiah and Nataly Uzdensky: Solutions can combat inner-city violence

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By Nina Krishanaiah and Nataly Uzdensky

In our world, problems of all shapes and sizes dominate an individual’s mind.

However, one problem seems unsolvable, and, therefore, many don’t try to find a solution: inner-city violence. This crisis is sweeping across America at alarming rates, and it is hard to implement a solution because of the complexity of the problem.

Most move on without investing in a method of prevention. So what is inner-city violence? How has this issue impacted Americans? What needs to be done to combat this crisis?

Inner-city violence, which can be random or target a particular group, can come in many forms, such as shootings, gang activity, carjacking, etc. Though this violence can be spontaneous, it digs deep into the hearts of Americans.

In a New York Times article published Jan. 15, a homeless man pushed 40-year-old Michelle Go into the train tracks of a subway station in Times Square as the train was approaching, killing her. This act of inner-city violence provided us with a vivid sense of grief, reminding us of the Boulder King Soopers shooting and encouraging us to think about how this could be prevented.

In our state of Colorado, there have been acts of violence, such as mass shootings in Aurora, Denver, Centennial and Boulder. There have been shutdowns at schools because of threats of this violence permeating a space meant for learning.

Though there are many significant issues within America, inner-city violence is an issue that needs to be fixed; and soon. According to the Gun Violence Archive, starting with a Denver shooting on Jan. 1, there have been 148 shootings, with 620 people injured and 158 people dead, not to mention countless rapes, robberies and more crimes.

These acts of violence often connect back to mental health. For instance, the previously mentioned act of violence in the N.Y. subway station, according to the article’s authors, was carried out by a homeless man in the station, where “the homeless people who have for decades made their home there (include) many (who) are mentally ill or addicted to drugs or both.” Due to significant financial challenges in this urban environment, the homeless individual may have fallen victim to severe mental health issues.

According to Health Direct, the primary mental issues with the symptom of psychotic relief are schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and addiction to substances such as alcohol, LSD and marijuana.

According to studies discussed in the Scientific American and in the National Library of Medicine, people living in urban environments are prone to risk factors of stress that cause other serious mental illnesses, especially schizophrenia.

Living in an urban environment doubles the risk of psychosis in later life. More studies must be done to find potential solutions in neighborhood resources such as green spaces. There are many scientific solutions out there, but we need to do the work to implement them.

Suggested factors of violence that urban environments provide are detrimental social and physical environments. In cities and other urban areas, citizens are more likely to be subjected to social inequalities such as racism, poverty, social isolation or feeling insignificant in large environments. Also, increased pollution and noise may potentially exacerbate mental illnesses, which may later lead to violence.

There are many approaches to solving the inner-city violence crisis. It is fundamental to have more accessible options for therapy and psychiatric help for low-income areas.

Looking at gun violence, the government needs to enforce stricter rules for owning guns.

Furthermore, schools need to prioritize student mental wellness, teach about signs of mental health issues and about drug abuse. Awareness around inner-city violence and research surrounding these topics are crucial to resolving them.

Inner-city violence is a significant issue that has taken many lives.

There are many possible solutions, and although they need development, they can be implemented with the ability to break the cycle of inner-city violence.

Nina Krishanaiah and Nataly Uzdensky are eighth graders at Summit Middle Charter School and members of Summit’s honor society. 

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