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Patterns of Urban Violent Injury: A Spatio-Temporal Analysis

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posted on 21.05.2021, 16:37 authored by Michael D. Cusimano, Sean P. Marshall, Claus Rinner, Depeng Jiang, Mary L. Chipman
Objectives: Injury related to violent acts is a problem in every society. Although some authors have examined the geography of violent crime, few have focused on the spatio-temporal patterns of violent injury and none have used an ambulance dataset to explore the spatial characteristics of injury. The purpose of this study was to describe the combined spatial and temporal characteristics of violent injury in a large urban centre. Methodology/Principal Findings: Using a geomatics framework and geographic information systems software, we studied 4,587 ambulance dispatches and 10,693 emergency room admissions for violent injury occurrences among adults (aged 18-64) in Toronto, Canada, during 2002-2004, using population-based datasets. We created kernel density and choropleth maps for 24-hour periods and four-hour daily time periods and compared location of ambulance dispatches and patient residences with local land use and socioeconomic characteristics. We used multivariate regressions to control for confounding factors. We found the locations of violent injury and the residence locations of those injured were both closely related to each other and clearly clustered in certain parts of the city characterised by high numbers of bars, social housing units, and homeless shelters, as well as lower household incomes. The night and early morning showed a distinctive peak in injuries and a shift in the location of injuries to a "nightlife" district. The locational pattern of patient residences remained unchanged during those times. Conclusions/Significance: Our results demonstrate that there is a distinctive spatio-temporal pattern in violent injury reflected in the ambulance data. People injured in this urban centre more commonly live in areas of social deprivation. During the day, locations of injury and locations of residences are similar. however, later at night, the injury location of highest density shifts to a "nightlife" district, whereas the residence locations of those most at risk of injury do not change.