One of the most widely noted developments of the past decade is the trend toward viewing interpersonal aggression and violence as a public health concern rather than acknowledging it as a social issue. The glamorization of deviant and violent behavior has grown over the last couple of decades due in part to visual and print media exposure of non-traditional lifestyles and the behavior associated with the people that live them. In addition there have been movies, music, and other factors that have allowed our culture to be more accepting of violent, behavior-oriented actions. Most violent crimes committed in America today are the result of some form of behavioral driven action.
It all begins with understanding that violence is the use of physical force to cause injury, damage or death. Worldwide, violence is used as a tool of manipulation and also is an area of concern for lawmakers and our overall culture, which make attempts to suppress and stop it. The strong connection between crime and social conditions calls into question the practice pursued in the U.S. for more than 20 years of locking up more lawbreakers and giving them longer sentences.
The United States, as a capitalist nation, is naturally socially stratified. In societies where more is produced than is consumed, there naturally becomes an unequal distribution of goods and thus, money and power. With intensive agriculture and rapidly advancing technology, fewer people are needed to do manual labor. A smaller number of people are producers, while an increasing number are consumers. Life necessities, such as food and shelter, are taken for granted because they can be produced rapidly with ease. The surplus of goods begins to become unevenly distributed and soon, a stratification system develops.
The word violence covers a broad spectrum. It can vary from between a physical altercation between two beings to war and genocide where millions may die as a result of the action. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that each year around 1.6 million lives are lost worldwide due to violence. It is among the leading causes of death for people ages 15–44, especially of males. In all societies the behavior of some people at times goes beyond that permitted by the norms. Social life is characterized not only by conformity but also by deviance, behavior that a considerable number of people view as reprehensible and beyond the limits of tolerance. Through the study of rates and trends of violence and the identification of high-risk groups, researchers have added their independent data to a study begun by analysts trained in the social, behavioral, and criminological sciences. Criminologists and sociologists have conducted what is now considered to be epidemiological studies of homicide, suicide, and assault for many decades. Studies of criminal offenders and the experience of other nations show that low crime rates correlate significantly with societal conditions. The conditions include maintaining a strong social safety net for the poor; helping parents learn correct parenting skills; providing proactive assistance to at-risk children; ensuring that all segments of the population have adequate housing, education, health care, and nutrition; and avoiding extreme disparities between rich and poor in terms of income, wealth, opportunities, and quality of life. However, the move toward the attempted prevention of violence and intentional injury initiated by public health has prompted a series of questions, some of which have not been explored sufficiently by academic social scientists. What are the causes of group differences in the level of involvement in violence? How important is an understanding of violence for the devising of effective prevention and intervention policies and strategies? Past criminological and epidemiological studies have shown that levels of interpersonal violence,