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38 School shootings, neighborhood characteristics, and google trends
  1. Bindu Kalesan
  1. Boston University


Statement of Purpose The neighborhood socio-economic factors associated with school-shootings and the differences in the public interest are unknown. We characterized the relationship between median home price, poverty rate, black population, homicide rate and population size with the incidence of school shootings at the zip code level, and additionally intent of the shooter and number of victim fatalities with google trends of school shootings.

Methods We performed a cross-sectional study between 01/01/2013–12/31/2018 using school-shooting data from Everytown database (K-12 and colleges/Universities) and K12 (only K-12). Median house price, poverty rate, black population, and population size was obtained from American Community Survey, homicide rate from Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and intent of shooting and number of fatal victims were from the school shooting databases. Google trends for each day for ‘school’ and ‘shooting’ was obtained for six years and standardized using year weights created as total proportion of total hits in months per total hits during six years.

Results There were 405 and 295 school shooting incidents in Everytown and K12 datasets respectively. From 2013 to 2018, school shooting incidences per 10 million population increased from 1.45 to 3.12 in Everytown data and from 1.04 to 2.96 in K12 data. The zip code areas with higher poverty rate (Incidence ratio, IRR=1.37 [95% CI, 1.09–1.73], larger black population [IRR=1.24, 95% CI 1.13–1.37], higher homicide rate [IRR=1.08, 95% CI 1.04–1.12] and larger population size [IRR=2.34, 95% CI 2.00–2.75] had an increased incidence of school shooting. Increasing public interest or Google trends for school-shooting was independently associated only with the death of victims.

Conclusion/Significance Although school shootings are more likely in large neighborhoods with high homicide and a larger proportion of the black population, public interest in school shootings depended only on whether the death occurred during school-shooting.

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