Neighborhood crime and access to health-enabling resources in Chicago

Prev Med Rep. 2018 Jan 31;9:153-156. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2018.01.017. eCollection 2018 Mar.


Neighborhood crime may be an important social determinant of health in many high-poverty, urban communities, yet little is known about its relationship with access to health-enabling resources. We recruited an address-based probability sample of 267 participants (ages ≥35 years) on Chicago's South Side between 2012 and 2013. Participants were queried about their perceptions of neighborhood safety and prior experiences of neighborhood crime. Survey data were paired to a comprehensive, directly-observed census of the built environment on the South Side of Chicago. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to examine access to health-enabling resources (potential and realized access) as a function of neighborhood crime (self-reported neighborhood safety and prior experience of theft or property crime), adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics and self-reported health status. Low potential access was defined as a resident having nearest resources >1 mile from home; poor realized access was defined as bypassing nearby potential resources to use resources >1 mile from home. Poor neighborhood safety was associated with low potential access to large grocery stores (AOR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.04, 2.87), pharmacies (AOR = 2.24, 95% CI = 1.33, 3.77), and fitness resources (AOR = 1.93, 95% CI = 1.15, 3.24), but not small grocery stores. Any prior experience of neighborhood crime was associated with higher adjusted odds of bypassing nearby pharmacies (AOR = 3.78, 95% CI = 1.11, 12.87). Neighborhood crime may be associated with important barriers to accessing health-enabling resources in urban communities with high rates of crime.

Keywords: Access to resources; Built environment; Hypertension; Neighborhood crime; Obesity; Social determinants of health.