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147 The promises and challenges of place-based solutions to violence prevention
  1. Katherine Theall1,
  2. Christopher Morrison2,
  3. Michelle Kondo3,
  4. Maeve Wallace1,
  5. Charles Branas2
  1. 1Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane Violence Prevention Institute
  2. 2Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health
  3. 3USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station


Statement of Purpose Place-based interventions affect social and physical environmental conditions in neighborhoods and are policy-relevant opportunities for violence prevention that can also promote population health equity. This presentation discusses study design challenges and novel data integration methods relevant to such interventions.

Methods/Approach We examine the impact of vacant land and abandoned building remediation on crime and violence, including family violence, through observational and quasi-experimental research and discuss methodology for an ongoing cluster randomized trial aimed at reducing blighted properties in a southern U.S. city known for elevated rates of violence and neighborhood inequities.

Results Strong spatial correlations between the rate of vacant land and both violent crime and domestic violence call rates, as well as in the rates of child abuse and neglect, were evident. Cluster analysis of data on potential vacant land and abandoned houses was used to detect and select approximately 200 geographic clusters with a high density of vacant properties. Clusters were block randomized into five intervention arms based on the two cluster types, those with only vacant land and those with both vacant land and abandoned homes. Challenges were found in terms of assignment of properties within a reasonable timeline that satisfied research goals and municipal realities. Data integration software is a promising tool for examination and monitoring of trends in vacant land and resultant health and social outcomes.

Conclusion Testing the efficacy of such straightforward, inexpensive, and scalable methods is challenging but can be addressed through innovative methods and adaptive trial designs.

Significance and Contributions to Injury and Violence Prevention Science This presentation will discuss development of and preliminary results from a neighborhood-level cluster randomized trial that advances the science of violence prevention, as well as potential measurement tools to understand place-based disparities that can also be used to monitor progress toward neighborhood equity.

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