(30 lines) As a social epidemiologist and junior faculty member at UC Davis, my career goal is to build a program of research that identifies fundamental causes of violence and its determinants, and to use this understanding to test effective approaches to reduce violence-related harm. The relationship between neighborhood-level characteristics and firearm violence is well recognized. However, these multiple exposures likely operate in complex and reciprocal ways with each other and with crime and violence that are not yet well understood. Therefore, I propose to take advantage of an existing dataset built for an ongoing study of demolition and rehabilitation of decaying properties in Cleveland, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan, for which I am the principal investigator, to describe the range of neighborhood-level exposures in each of these cities and to identify how these exposures work together to impact firearm violence. These objectives will be accomplished through three specific aims:
Aim 1 : To describe variation in classes of neighborhood interventions across neighborhoods and neighborhood characteristics in Cleveland, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan from 2010 through 2019;
Aim 2 : to identify the neighborhood-level exposures that are most predictive of high levels of neighborhood youth firearm violence;
and Aim 3 : to estimate effects of individual neighborhood interventions and classes of neighborhood interventions on rates of neighborhood violent crime, firearm-related crime, firearm homicides, and firearm suicides among youth and young adults age 10 to 29. I will use detailed datasets primarily built from parcel- level administrative data in each city in order to accomplish the aims of the proposed study. These datasets use micro-data to describe neighborhood characteristics such as home quality, foreclosure rates, land use type, and vacancies. These micro-data are coupled with census variables on demographics, education levels, and other socioeconomic indicators and are aggregated to census tracts. We also undertook a thorough and systematic review of programs and policies hypothesized to influence violence prevention, either directly (e.g. changes in policing strategies) or indirectly (e.g. incentives to encourage buying homes in specific neighborhoods) and critical events, defined as expected and unexpected shocks to the cities, over the study period (2010-2019). These interventions and events are mapped to specific locations and dates. I will use a range of rigorous statistical methods, including latent class analysis, ensemble machine learning and causal inference methods, and spatial analysis methods to accomplish the study aims. I have identified three critical areas where continued training will prepare me to pursue my career goals and make important contributions to the field of violence prevention. These include training in 1) spatial analysis, 2) criminology and criminal justice theory, and 3) the analysis of multiple, correlated exposures. The experience gained through the proposed program of study will help me develop the skills, understanding, and experience I need to succeed in my career goals and allow me to answer critical questions on neighborhood exposures and youth firearm violence.
(3 sentences) While the relationship between neighborhood-level characteristics and firearm violence is well recognized, very little is known about the relative importance and joint effects of the multiple and dynamic exposures that make up the neighborhood environment. Describing the range of exposures and their relative importance in predicting youth firearm violence, as well as the independent and joint effects of these exposures on firearm violence is critical for developing a deeper understanding of how ?place? affects violence. Investigation of the environmental causes of firearm violence may illuminate broad-based interventions with a greater ability to achieve widespread and lasting impacts.