Youth violence disproportionately affects inner city, urban minority communities in the USA. This article illustrates the use of surveillance data to inform and evaluate community action directed at this serious problem. Community efforts in response to surveillance data indicating high rates of violence surrounding convenience stores with unrestricted alcohol beverage licenses provided a natural experiment to examine the impact of imposing licensing restrictions on intentional injury rates. Rates of ambulance pickups for intentional injuries in the 15- to 24-year-old population in five census tracts where alcoholic beverage sales were restricted were compared to five census tracts with similar demographic characteristics near stores where restrictions were not instituted. Time periods included an 18-month baseline period, a 6-month period during which restrictions were in effect in the intervention communities, and an 18-month period following lifting of this restriction resulting from legal action by store owners. The monthly average rate of ambulance pickups for violent injuries showed a significantly greater baseline-to-intervention phase decrease in the intervention communities (i.e., from 19.6 to 0 per 1,000) than in the control communities (i.e., 7.4 to 3.3 per 1,000). This rate subsequently increased to 11.4 in the intervention communities after the restriction was removed. This study illustrates the potential value of surveillance data for guiding community mobilization efforts and for evaluating the impact of such efforts. It also demonstrates the potential impact of restricting inexpensive, single-serve alcoholic beverages on rates of violence.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 24, 2013
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