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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