Spatial Analysis of the Impact of a School-Level Youth Violence Prevention Program on Violent Crime Incidents in the Community

  • Saba W. Masho
  • Keith W. Zirkle
  • David C. WheelerEmail author
  • Terri Sullivan
  • Albert D. Farrell


This study investigated the effect of a school-based violence prevention program on community rates of violence for youth aged 10 to 18 in three urban communities with high rates of crime and poverty. We evaluated the impact of the Olweus Bully Prevention Program (OBPP) combined with a family intervention using a multiple baseline design in which we randomized the order and timing of intervention activities across three schools. Outcomes were police reports of violent crime incidents involving offenders aged 10 to 18 years (N = 2859 incidents) across a 6-year period. We used Bayesian hierarchical regression modeling to estimate the reduction of youth violence in the census blocks of the intervention middle school zones. Models controlled for percent female head-of-household, median household income, and percent renter-occupied housing units. Block groups within the attendance zones of schools receiving the intervention had a reduced risk of violence compared with those that did not (relative risk = 0.83, 95% credible interval = 0.71, 0.99). Our findings suggest that the school-level intervention was associated with a significant reduction in community-level youth violence. Public health professionals, program planners, and policy-makers should be aware of the potential community-wide benefit of school-level interventions.


Youth violence Violence prevention Spatial analysis Community effects 


Funding Information

This study was funded by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC Cooperative Agreement 5U01CE001956. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was not obtained for analyses that were based on de-identified archival data.


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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saba W. Masho
    • 1
    • 2
  • Keith W. Zirkle
    • 3
  • David C. Wheeler
    • 3
    Email author
  • Terri Sullivan
    • 2
    • 4
  • Albert D. Farrell
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Population Health, School of MedicineVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Clark Hill Institute for Positive Youth DevelopmentVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biostatistics, School of MedicineVirginia Commonwealth University, VCURichmondUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychology, College of HumanitiesVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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