Speaker: Rob Lipton, PhD, Associate Professor, Emergency Medicine, University of Michigan
Understanding the environmental and social context in which violence occurs has been an increasingly important area of research with broad applicability in public policy bearing on violence mitigation reaching far beyond purely research issues. Increased theoretical understanding of the spatial/environmental context of violence, such as theories relating alcohol outlets to violence, have gone hand-in-hand with improvements in spatial techniques and computing power, transforming this area of research. Although research has been done on violence related to alcohol outlet type and density, less has been done that includes measures of drug arrests and to more fully include spatial features such as characteristics of adjacent geographic areas on target area violence. In this presentation, by way of example, we will examine the relationship between alcohol outlets, drug markets (approximated by arrests for possession and trafficking) and violence in Boston and similar work done in Flint, MI, as well as showing how this research has informed the development of a grant application comparing six cities in the US (Boston, Chicago, Flint, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Philadelphia). An emphasis will be on the process of doing spatial/geographical research in a public health setting and examining how to conceptualize and implement such analysis, including developing data layers, mapping, and spatial/temporal approaches.