More Liquor Stores, More Crime

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Pamela Trangenstein, PhD While she was a predoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) 

Dr. Trangenstein

Pamela Trangenstein, PhD
While  a predoctoral fellow at
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Research repeatedly shows that alcohol outlet density (the number of businesses that sell alcohol in an area) is associated with violent crime, but studies disagree about whether alcohol outlets that are on premise (e.g., bars, restaurants) or off premise (e.g., liquor stores, beer and wine stores) have a stronger association with violent crime.

We used advanced methods that consider both the number of alcohol outlets and their locations to better understand how the association between alcohol outlets and violent crime differs by type of outlet.

We found that alcohol outlets that allow off-premise sales like liquor stores had a stronger association with homicide, aggravated assault, and robbery than on-premise outlets like bars and restaurants. We also found that disadvantaged neighborhoods had higher access to the types of alcohol outlets associated with the most harms: off-premise outlets.  Continue reading

How Much US Life is Lost to Police Violence?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“police” by istolethetv is licensed under CC BY 2.0Anthony L. Bui, MPH

M.D. Candidate, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Matthew M. Coates, MPH
Associate, Harvard Medical School, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine
Ellicott C. Matthay, MPH
Ph.D. Candidate, Division of Epidemiology, University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Protests after recent deaths from encounters with law enforcement, the Black Lives Matter movement, and activism over social media platforms have raised the profile of the problem of police violence. Several studies have suggested that the public health community has a duty to address these deaths as a public health problem. These studies have also pointed out that although there is a lack of officially reported statistics on police violence, other journalistic and crowd-sourced efforts such as “The Counted” from The Guardian, FatalEncounters.org, U.S. Police Shootings Database, KilledbyPolice.net, and Mapping Police Violence have relatively complete documentation of deaths from police violence.

To help frame the issue as a public health problem, we calculated years of life lost (YLLs) attributed to deaths from encounters with law enforcement. YLLs are, a metric that measures premature deaths, by age, gender, and race/ethnicity. To do this, we followed established methods, subtracting the age of each death from a corresponding standard life expectancy. For example, if an individual who died at age 25 had a life expectancy of 75, their YLL would be 50.  Continue reading

Lower Heart Rate in Adolescent Boys Partly Explains Gender Gap in Crime

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Olivia Choy Ph.D. candidate in Criminology Department of Criminology, University of Pennsylvania University of Pennsylvania

Olivia Choy

Olivia Choy
Ph.D. candidate in Criminology
Department of Criminology, University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The higher rate of offending among males compared to females is a well-documented phenomenon. However, little is known about what accounts for this gender difference. As males have been found to have significantly lower heart rates than females and lower resting heart rates have been associated with higher levels of offending, we tested whether low heart rate may partly account for the gender gap in crime.

Resting heart rate at age 11 accounted for 5.4% to 17.1% of the gender difference in crime at age 23.

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Deliberate Self-harm Associated With Violent Criminality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hanna Sahlin MSc, Lic psychologist, Lic psychotherapist Specialist in clinical psychology PhD-student Departement of Clinical Neuroscience Karolinska Institutet National Self-harm project Centre for Psychiatry Research, CPF Stockholm, Sweden

Hanna Sahlin

Hanna Sahlin
MSc, Lic psychologist, Lic psychotherapist
Specialist in clinical psychology
PhD-student
Departement of Clinical Neuroscience
Karolinska Institutet
National Self-harm project
Centre for Psychiatry Research, CPF
Stockholm, Sweden

What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study is the result of wanting to find a more conclusive answer to whether individuals who engage in non-fatal deliberate self-harm are more prone to aggression towards others. There has long been a debate on whether aggression to oneself and aggression towards others co-occur, but the studies that have been conducted thus far have been on smaller samples or with clinical or forensic cohorts. Also, the studies have had great variability regarding the definition of both “deliberate self-harm” and “violence”. Thus, it has been difficult to establish an ”overall” effect size for this association, or to draw firmer conclusions on how and if this association plays out in the general population.

We had the opportunity to study this association in several large nationwide population-based registries including all Swedish citizens, and with high specificity regarding the ingoing variables of interest – i.e., non-fatal deliberate self-harm (as registered in the National Patient Register) and violent crime convictions (as registered in the National Crime Register).

We found a five times increased crude risk (hazard) of being convicted of a violent crime if one had received self-harm associated clinical care, and vice-versa, that there was an equally increased risk of self-harm if one had been convicted of a violent crime. After controlling for relevant psychiatric comorbidities and socio-economic status, an almost doubled risk of violent crime conviction remained among self-harming men and women compared to individuals not exposed to self-harm. It is important to notice that our study did not find any evidence suggesting that self-harm behaviours cause violent criminality. Therefore, we conclude that the engagement in violence towards oneself and towards others share an underlying vulnerability to impulsive and aggressive behaviours.

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Study Finds No Link Between Immigration and Crime

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Robert Adelman PhD Associate professor of sociology University at Albany, SUNY

Dr. Robert Adelman

Robert Adelman PhD
Associate professor of sociology
University at Albany, SUNY 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our study examines Census and FBI data across four decades from 1970 to 2010. We analyze data for 200 randomly selected U.S. metropolitan areas. Our results show strong and stable evidence that for murder, robbery, burglary, and larceny as immigration increases, on average, in American metropolitan areas, crime decreases. We find no impact of immigration on aggravated assault.

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