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Years of safe community activities in Dallas, TX, USA: has it made a 15 difference?
  1. S Stephens-Stidham*,
  2. M Stowe,
  3. M McCoy,
  4. R Anderson,
  5. P Boumbulian,
  6. G R Istre
  1. Correspondence Injury Prevention Center of Greater Dallas/Parkland Health & Hospital System, 5000 Harry Hines Blvd. Dallas, TX 75235, USA

Abstract

Background The Injury Prevention Center of Greater Dallas, Texas (IPC) was established in 1994, and Dallas became the first WHO designated Safe Community in the U.S. in 1996. The IPC has used the Safe Communities model approach, has worked with >100 different organisations and agencies, and has promoted coalitions and community groups that are engaged in injury prevention. The IPC has devoted much of its effort toward prevention of Motor Vehicle Crash (MVC) and Residential Fire-related deaths and injuries in Dallas County.

Methods We compared the change in deaths rates (per 100 000 pop.) from vital statistics between 1994–96 and 2004–06, for MVC deaths and Fire-related deaths. Dallas County rates were compared to rates in Harris County (Houston) and Bexar County (San Antonio), the primary counties for the two other largest metro areas in Texas.

Results MVC Death rates in Dallas County decreased from 16.1 to 13.1 (down 18%) between 1994–96 and 2004–06 (p<0.05), and Fire-related death rates decreased by 48% (p<0.05), both of which were greater than either Harris or Bexar counties, the state of Texas as a whole, or the U.S. as a whole.

Conclusion Secular trend evidence indicates that MVC and Fire-Related deaths have declined substantially during the time of a Safe Communities Model effort in Dallas County, which focused on those areas. While we recognise that secular trend comparisons do not prove effectiveness, the results are consistent with a beneficial impact of the Safe Communities program in Dallas.

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