Reacting to Crime and Violence: The Psychological Toll

By: Meghan Dwyer
By: Meghan Dwyer

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Eight people were shot this weekend in the Stateline and it has many families worried about their safety more than usual. Living near crime can affect us psychologically.

You don't have to witness crime to be affected by it. Experts say just hearing about violence in the community can lead to post traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Over the last two weeks crime has spiked in Rockford and it's hit all sides of town. Three murders and eight shootings--residents are not quite sure what to think. When violence hits close to home you don't have to be in the room to feel side effects.

A study conducted after 9/11 found that just being near the Twin Towers stressed people out. People who have experienced tragedy of any kind are more likely to worry when they just hear about violence.

Psychotherapist Geoff Magnus said, "The more bad experiences you have in your life, if you've had a previous trauma, the more likely you are to have post-traumatic stress disorder just from hearing about or witnessing something."

More than fifty percent of people who live in bad neighborhoods have PTSD. Symptoms normally start within three months after a major trauma.

Those symptoms include flashbacks about the event, bad memories and intense anxiety.If you or anyone you know have been affected by violence over the past month you're encouraged to talk to someone.


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