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Perceptions of Safety in Urban Environments: Approaches to identifying important environmental features of safe and unsafe places for violence prevention research.

In the United States, homicide is the third leading cause of death for people ages 15-34 and the leading cause of death for African-American males of the same age. Each year, young people make nearly one million visits to the hospital for non-fatal, assault related injuries. Despite a consistent decline in violent crimes over the last few decades, disproportionate rates of violence persist in US cities and young men of color continue to die at rates that are more than 20 times their white counterparts. We know that violence is distributed in patterns of time and space and that each day, youth navigate urban environments that could place them at very high risk for violence. Research has indicated that social and physical neighborhood characteristics are important risk factors for youth violence and warrant further investigation as possible modifiable features that could inform violence prevention efforts. This presentation will include a series of pilot studies conducted in an urban context using novel methodologies to learn more about micro-spatial indicators of safety and inform future place-based violence prevention studies.

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