Aggregate-level lead exposure, gun violence, homicide, and rape

Brian B. Boutwell, Erik J. Nelson, Zhengmin Qian, Michael George Vaughn, John P. Wright, Kevin M. Beaver, J. C. Barnes, Melissa Petkovsek, Roger Lewis, Mario Schootman, Richard Rosenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Context: An increasing body of research has linked the geographic distribution of lead with various indicators of criminal and antisocial behavior. Objective: The current study, using data from an ongoing project related to lead exposure in St. Louis City, MO, analyzed the association between aggregate blood lead levels and specific indicators violent crime within the city. Design: Ecological study. Setting: St. Louis, Missouri. Exposure measure: Blood lead levels. Main outcome measure: Official reports of violent crimes were categorized as 1) crimes involving a firearm (yes/no), 2) assault crimes (with or without a firearm), 3) robbery crimes (with or without a firearm), 4) homicides and 5) rape. Results: With the exception of rape, aggregate blood-lead levels were statistically significant predictors of violent crime at the census tract level. The risk ratios for each of the outcome measures were as follows: firearm crimes 1.03 (1.03–1.04), assault crimes 1.03 (1.02–1.03), robbery crimes 1.03 (1.02–1.04), homicide 1.03 (1.01, 1.04), and rape 1.01 (0.99–1.03). Conclusions: Extending prior research in St. Louis, results suggest that aggregated lead exposure at the census tract level predicted crime outcomes, even after accounting for important sociological variables. Moving forward, a more developed understanding of aggregate level crime may necessitate a shift toward studying the synergy between sociological and biological risk factors such as lead exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0187953
JournalPloS one
Volume12
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov 1

Fingerprint

crime
violence
Rape
Crime
Homicide
Firearms
Blood
Censuses
blood
Lead
Exposure to Violence
Violence
antisocial behavior
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Biological Factors
relative risk
Research
geographical distribution
risk factors
Odds Ratio

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Boutwell, B. B., Nelson, E. J., Qian, Z., Vaughn, M. G., Wright, J. P., Beaver, K. M., ... Rosenfeld, R. (2017). Aggregate-level lead exposure, gun violence, homicide, and rape. PloS one, 12(11), [e0187953]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0187953
Boutwell, Brian B. ; Nelson, Erik J. ; Qian, Zhengmin ; Vaughn, Michael George ; Wright, John P. ; Beaver, Kevin M. ; Barnes, J. C. ; Petkovsek, Melissa ; Lewis, Roger ; Schootman, Mario ; Rosenfeld, Richard. / Aggregate-level lead exposure, gun violence, homicide, and rape. In: PloS one. 2017 ; Vol. 12, No. 11.
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Boutwell, BB, Nelson, EJ, Qian, Z, Vaughn, MG, Wright, JP, Beaver, KM, Barnes, JC, Petkovsek, M, Lewis, R, Schootman, M & Rosenfeld, R 2017, 'Aggregate-level lead exposure, gun violence, homicide, and rape', PloS one, vol. 12, no. 11, e0187953. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0187953

Aggregate-level lead exposure, gun violence, homicide, and rape. / Boutwell, Brian B.; Nelson, Erik J.; Qian, Zhengmin; Vaughn, Michael George; Wright, John P.; Beaver, Kevin M.; Barnes, J. C.; Petkovsek, Melissa; Lewis, Roger; Schootman, Mario; Rosenfeld, Richard.

In: PloS one, Vol. 12, No. 11, e0187953, 01.11.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Boutwell BB, Nelson EJ, Qian Z, Vaughn MG, Wright JP, Beaver KM et al. Aggregate-level lead exposure, gun violence, homicide, and rape. PloS one. 2017 Nov 1;12(11). e0187953. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0187953