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Toronto's entertainment district 'hot-spot' for violence-related injuries
Date:1/26/2010

Toronto, OntarioJanuary 26, 2010 -- Each day people living in large urban centres are injured as the result of violent acts such as physical assault. While existing research tells us where such events are most likely to happen, a new study by Canadian scientists has gone one step further.

"While studies have been done on the geography of violent crime, few researchers have looked at what we call the spatio-temporal patterns of violent injurynot just where these are most likely to occur, but also when," says lead author Dr.Michael Cusimano, a scientist at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.

Toronto has a single ambulance service serving the emergency needs of its 2.4 million residents, he adds. Each ambulance dispatch is precisely geocoded by longitude and latitude and also time-stamped, providing unique information about the ''where'' and ''when'' of injury.

The researchers analyzed data from EMS, Toronto's ambulance service, which oversees and collects data on approximately 260,000 dispatches per year. The study looked at 4,587 injury-related ambulance dispatches and 10,693 emergency room admissions during 2002 and 2004. Only assault-related injuresthose caused by a gun, knife, sharp or blunt object, or a body part such as a fistwere included in the analysis.

Based on data from the EMS, hospitals, and census information, the researchers generated time and location maps for both 24-hour and four-hour daily time periods. The maps recorded the locations of ambulance dispatches; the land use and socioeconomic characteristics of these locations; and the home addresses of injury victims. Several trends were observed:

  • Violent injury events were most likely to take place in areas with more bars, social housing units and homeless shelters, as well as lower-income households. The highest concentration of ambulance calls was for events in the eastern downtown area, followed by calls to neighbourhoods in the we
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Contact: Julie Saccone
sacconej@smh.toronto.on.ca
416-864-5047
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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