Online Program

Modeling the diffusion of homicide by type through a mid-sized American city to inform public health prevention efforts

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 9:15 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

April Zeoli, PhD, MPH, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Jesenia Pizarro, PhD, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Chris Melde, PhD, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Sue Grady, PhD, MPH, Department of Geography, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Purpose: Recent research demonstrated that the spatio-temporal movement of homicide through Newark, New Jersey can be modeled using techniques from the field of medical geography. Homicide, however, is a complex phenomenon and different types of homicide may have different patterns of movement. Identifying these patterns is critical to the deployment of prevention efforts specific to a homicide type. Methods: Homicide data were obtained from the Newark Police Department's Homicide Unit's log sheets and investigative files from 1997 through 2007 (N=590). The address location at which each homicide victim was found was geo-coded, and date and type of homicide recorded. We used cluster detection software to model the spatio-temporal movement of statistically significant homicide clusters by type, using census tract and month of occurrence as the spatial and temporal units of analysis. Results/Outcomes: During the study period, there were 127 homicides that were the result of escalating disputes; 113 homicides that arose from interpersonal disputes; 95 family and intimate partner homicides; 175 homicides related to drugs and gangs; and 80 robbery homicides. Findings on the diffusion or non-diffusion of homicide clusters for each of these homicide types will be presented. Conclusions: There exist promising intervention efforts for many homicide types, but interventions targeting one type may not prevent homicides with different etiologies. By tracking how homicide types diffuse through communities, and determining which places have ongoing or emerging homicide problems by homicide type, we can better inform the deployment of prevention and intervention efforts.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the reasons that homicide may diffuse through communities. Identify how each homicide type moves, or does not move, through Newark, NJ. Explain how movement patterns by homicide type may be used to inform prevention efforts.

Keyword(s): Homicide, Geographic Information Systems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the lead researcher on an interdisciplinary team of public health researchers and criminologists working to determine if homicide diffuses through communities and whether that diffusion can be modeled using medical geographical techniques. Our first study in this area determined that homicide clusters diffused through Newark, NJ, and that the patterns of diffusion detected were largely consistent with prior research and theory. This paper can be found in the journal Justice Quarterly.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.