Shivering with fear as a gunshot passes past your window. Covering up your ears as police cars race through the streets, sirens blasting. Perhaps, walking past drug deals in progress on your streets or school beatings.

For children living in" neat and clean" suburbia, these these type of experiences are very rare. However, for their urban peers, this is all too familiar. More than half of children and adults living in cities have witnessed some form of community violence-acts of crime, such as drug use, beatings, shootings, stabbings and robbery, within their neighborhoods or schools.

Research shows from as a result of many years of constant exposure to community violence can lead to emotional, social and cognitive difficulties. Children may have difficulty controlling emotions, maintaining attention or concentrating at school. Over time, children living with the stress of community violence can become less engaged in school, withdraw from associates or display symptoms of post-traumatic stress. In short, living in an unsafe community can have a devastating effect upon child development.

Getty Images