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1 The association between urban tree cover and gun assault: a case-control and case-crossover study
  1. Michelle Kondo1,
  2. Eugenia South2,
  3. Charles Branas3,
  4. Therese Richmond2,
  5. Douglas Wiebe2
  1. 1US USDA Forest Service
  2. 2US University of Pennsylvania
  3. 3US Columbia University


Statement of purpose Green space and vegetation may play a protective role for urban violence. We investigated whether being near urban tree cover during outdoor activities related to being assaulted with a gun.

Methods/approach We conducted GIS-assisted interviews with 10 to 24 year old males in Philadelphia, PA including 135 patients who had been shot with a firearm and 274 community controls. Each subject reported a step-by-step mapped account of where and with whom they travelled over a full day from waking until being assaulted or going to bed. Geocoded path points were overlaid on mapped layers representing tree locations and place-specific characteristics. Conditional logistic regressions compared case subjects versus controls (case-control) and case subjects at the time of injury versus times earlier that day (case-crossover).

Results When comparing cases at the time of assault to controls matched at the same time of day, being under tree cover was inversely associated with gunshot assault (OR=0.70, 95% CI: 0.55, 0.88), especially in low-income areas (OR=0.69, 95%CI=0.54, 0.87). Case-crossover models confirmed this inverse association overall (OR=0.55, 95% CI=0.34, 0.89), and in low-income areas (OR=0.54, 95% CI=0.33, 0.88).

Conclusion and Significance/contribution to Injury and Violence Prevention Science Urban greening and tree cover may hold promise as proactive strategies to decrease urban violence.

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