Association Between Acute Exposure to Crime and Individual Systolic Blood Pressure

W. Wyatt Wilson, Rhys F.M. Chua, Peng Wei, Stephanie A. Besser, Elizabeth L. Tung, Marynia Kolak, Corey E. Tabit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Hypertension is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes and is geographically concentrated in urban underserved neighborhoods. This study examines the temporal–spatial association between individual exposure to violent crime and blood pressure. Methods: A retrospective observational cohort study analyzed 39,211 patients with 227,595 blood pressure measurements from 2014 to 2016 at 3 outpatient clinics at an academic medical center in Chicago. Patients were included in the study if they had documentation of blood pressure in the medical record and resided in census tracts with >1,000 observations. Geocoded violent crime events were obtained from the Chicago Police Department. Individual-level exposure was defined on the basis of spatial and temporal buffers around each patient's home. Spatial buffers included 100-, 250-, 500-, and 1,000-meter disc radii, and temporal buffers included 7, 30, and 60 days preceding each outpatient appointment. Systolic blood pressure measurements (mmHg) were abstracted from the electronic health record. Analysis was performed in 2019–2020. Results: For each violent crime event within 100 meters from home, systolic blood pressure increased by 0.14 mmHg within 7 days of exposure compared with 0.08 mmHg at 30 days of exposure. In analyses stratified by neighborhood cluster, systolic blood pressure increased by 0.37 mmHg among patients in the suburban affluent cluster relative to that among those in an extreme poverty cluster for the same spatial and temporal buffer. Conclusions: Exposure to a violent crime event was associated with increased blood pressure, with gradient effects by both distance and time from exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-94
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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