Expanding a Multi-Level, Longitudinal Database to Assess Ecological Risk Factors in Community Violence

Project Details


Each year more than 85,000 people suffer from firearm injuries in the United States. Intentional assaults account for about 40% of all firearm injuries with approximately 12,000 killed each year as a result. Firearm violence is not evenly distributed across the population and the majority of homicide and shooting victims are young men of particular demographic groups living in structurally disadvantaged urban communities. A robust understanding of the macrostructural causes of this violence is necessary to inform violence reduction policies in the nation’s most affected communities. This study will extend prior research by considering how ecological risk factors operate in concert with one another and correspond reciprocally to rates of firearm violence to generate persistent cycles that harm communities over time. Findings will significantly contribute to the advancement of knowledge to inform the development of effective policies and programs to prevent firearm violence in communities. Moreover, it will generate a comprehensive neighborhood-level dataset that can be made publicly available to researchers for continued study on the ecological correlates of firearm violence in local communities. Investigators will construct a comprehensive database and examine the multilevel and reciprocal ecological causes of community firearm violence in almost 16,000 neighborhoods in 100 U.S. cities over ten years. The research will include an integrated series of longitudinal, multivariate analyses alongside coincidence analysis (CNA), a novel cross-case method for causal inference, to generate greater knowledge of the ecological factors that drive cycles of firearm violence in local spaces and related community disparities. The investigators will first analyze a series of multilevel models of neighborhood-, city-, and state-level risk factors to identify key correlates and multifactorial pathways that predict rates of local firearm homicides and non-fatal shootings over time. Following this, the researchers will assess the reciprocal relationship between community conditions and rates of firearm violence with particular attention to implications for community disparities. Findings can help prioritize funding and resource provision for federal, state, and local agencies tasked with preventing and addressing community violence as well as federal programs that support group-based violence interventions (GVI’s) documented to successfully help reduce violent crime in high-risk neighborhoods.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Effective start/end date7/1/236/30/25


  • National Science Foundation: $277,201.00


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