Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Mapping Activity Patterns to Quantify Risk of Violent Assault in Urban Environments.

TitleMapping Activity Patterns to Quantify Risk of Violent Assault in Urban Environments.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsWiebe DJ, Richmond TS, Guo W, Allison PD, Hollander JE, Nance ML, Branas CC
Date Published01/2016
KeywordsAdolescent, Case-Control Studies, Child, Factor Analysis, Statistical, Geographic Mapping, Human Activities, Humans, Male, Philadelphia, Residence Characteristics, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Space-Time Clustering, Urban Population, Violence, Young Adult

BACKGROUND: We collected detailed activity paths of urban youth to investigate the dynamic interplay between their lived experiences, time spent in different environments, and risk of violent assault.

METHODS: We mapped activity paths of 10- to 24-year-olds, including 143 assault patients shot with a firearm, 206 assault patients injured with other types of weapons, and 283 community controls, creating a step-by-step mapped record of how, when, where, and with whom they spent time over a full day from waking up until going to bed or being assaulted. Case-control analyses compared cases with time-matched controls to identify risk factors for assault. Case-crossover analyses compared cases at the time of assault with themselves earlier in the day to investigate whether exposure increases acted to the trigger assault.

RESULTS: Gunshot assault risks included being alone (odds ratio [OR] = 1.6, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.3, 1.9) and were lower in areas with high neighbor connectedness (OR = 0.7, 95% CI = 0.6, 0.8). Acquiring a gun (OR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.1, 1.6) and entering areas with more vacancy, violence, and vandalism (OR = 1.7, 95% CI = 1.1, 2.7) appeared to trigger the risk of getting shot shortly thereafter. Nongunshot assault risks included being in areas with recreation centers (OR = 1.2, 95% CI = 1.1, 1.4). Entering an area with higher truancy (OR = 1.6, 95% CI = 1.1, 2.5) and more vacancy, violence, and vandalism appeared to trigger the risk of nongunshot assault. Risks varied by age group.

CONCLUSIONS: We achieved a large-scale study of the activities of many boys, adolescents, and young men that systematically documented their experiences and empirically quantified risks for violence. Working at a temporal and spatial scale that is relevant to the dynamics of this phenomenon gave novel insights into triggers for violent assault.

Alternate JournalEpidemiology
PubMed ID26414941
PubMed Central IDPMC4658670
Grant ListK02 AA017974 / AA / NIAAA NIH HHS / United States
R01 AA014944 / AA / NIAAA NIH HHS / United States
K02AA017974 / AA / NIAAA NIH HHS / United States
R01AA014944 / AA / NIAAA NIH HHS / United States