Kent State Geographers Make Maps to Help Study Youth Violence
The Kent State University Geographic Information System (GIS) Health & Hazards Lab is teaming up with the city of Akron, Ohio to better understand the impact violence has on children in the city. In doing so, the group is working together to discover, develop and deploy solutions to the violence.
Kent State’s GIS|Health and Hazards Lab started gathering and mapping the data three years ago through a partnership with Akron Children’s Hospital External Affairs, Injury Prevention & Safe Kids Summit County for a project known as Mapping and Spatial Analysis for Child Injury Surveillance. The university has also been gathering data from the Akron Police Department over the past six years. Together, the information is giving researchers a visual of where children are experiencing violence, what type of violence it is, and at what age it is happening. The goal is to identify community and household risks prior to a child ending up in the emergency department, and to identify those risks before the children enter the system.
“As geographers, we put data on maps,” said Jacqueline Curtis, Ph.D., co-director of Kent State’s GIS|Health & Hazards Lab and assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. “For this project, we want to take the data off, because every point represents a child of violence. We hope the map gets smaller and the hot spots disappear.”
The research is partially funded through the city of Akron and a grant from the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, as well as the Ohio Department of Health, Bureau of Healthy Ohio, Violence, and Injury Prevention Program, Akron Children’s Hospital, and Safe Kids Summit County. The research results are expected to help the group come up with solutions to target violence.