Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation
Epidemiology and Population Health
Public Health Sciences with a specialization in Epidemiology, PhD
Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)
lead crime hypothesis; kulldorff spatial scan statistic; pre-frontal cortex; spatial error model; leaded environment; epidemiology
Lead is a known neurotoxicant. Human exposure to lead comes primarily through environmental exposures, including remnant lead paint, lead contaminated topsoil and lead contaminated water. Prenatal and early life lead exposure has been associated with numerous neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric disorders. This dissertation presents findings from an ecological study which evaluated the geospatial association between topsoil lead content and the incidence of FBI designated violent crime in Jefferson County, Kentucky. A total of 412 topsoil samples were collected along roadways (n=300) and from Louisville Metro Parks (n=112). Jefferson County crime data was obtained from the Louisville Metro Police Department – Crime Information Center. Shared areas of higher than expected rates of FBI designated violent crime was designated as the Study Area. Three Control Areaswere established based upon their low to expected rates of violent crime. The Control Areas were located northeast, southeast and southwest of the Study Area. Spatial Error Model was used to compare topsoil lead content between the Study Areaand the threeControl Areas. A Bayesian sparse spatial generalized linear mixed model (SGLMM) was used to evaluate the geospatial association between violent crime and topsoil lead content while controlling for eight pertinent census-tract-level covariates. Spatial Error Model results showed that the Study Areahad an approximate 8-fold increase in topsoil lead content compared to the referent Control Area. Unadjusted SGLMM, found that every 100-unit increase in topsoil lead content was associated with a 62 percent increased risk for violent crime events per census tract (RR=1.62, 95% CI:1.59, 1.64). The full SGLMM, which controlled for eight census-tract-level covariates, found that every 100-unit increase in topsoil lead content was associated with a 5 percent increased risk for violent crime events per census tract (RR=1.05, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.08). The results of this study are based upon an ecological study and should be interpreted with caution. However, these findings provide a rationale for the design of future studies aimed at exploring the relationship between lead poisoning and subsequent criminality.
Guinn, Brian, "Lead and crime: an ecological study between lead contaminated topsoil and violent crime." (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 3115.