DOI: 10.1080/02732173.2017.1319307">

Exploring community levels of lead (Pb) and youth violence

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Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

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Sociological Spectrum


An emergent body of literature has documented a relationship between the lead (Pb) pollution (a structural form of violence) and crime (including interpersonal forms of violence) at the aggregate level. This study contributes to the lead and crime literature by exploring the relationship between lead and youth violence at the community level. To explore this association, data on lead, concentrated disadvantage, residential mobility, racial and ethnic heterogeneity, percentage divorced, and youth violence were obtained across the city of Chicago’s Community Areas (n = 77). Results from hot spot analyses, Ordinary Least Squares regressions, and a Geographically Weighted Regression suggest that not only do lead and youth violence appear to concentrate in the same communities, but increases in community lead level are associated with corresponding increases in youth violence 10 years after exposure. This study concludes with a discussion of theoretical and policy implications.

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DOI: 10.1080/02732173.2017.1319307