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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 903264, 10 pages
Research Article

A Survey of Residents’ Perceptions of the Effect of Large-Scale Economic Developments on Perceived Safety, Violence, and Economic Benefits

1Epidemiology Data Center, Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA
2Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA

Received 24 February 2015; Revised 9 June 2015; Accepted 25 June 2015

Academic Editor: Terry Tudor

Copyright © 2015 Anthony Fabio et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Emerging research highlights the promise of community- and policy-level strategies in preventing youth violence. Large-scale economic developments, such as sports and entertainment arenas and casinos, may improve the living conditions, economics, public health, and overall wellbeing of area residents and may influence rates of violence within communities. Objective. To assess the effect of community economic development efforts on neighborhood residents’ perceptions on violence, safety, and economic benefits. Methods. Telephone survey in 2011 using a listed sample of randomly selected numbers in six Pittsburgh neighborhoods. Descriptive analyses examined measures of perceived violence and safety and economic benefit. Responses were compared across neighborhoods using chi-square tests for multiple comparisons. Survey results were compared to census and police data. Results. Residents in neighborhoods with the large-scale economic developments reported more casino-specific and arena-specific economic benefits. However, 42% of participants in the neighborhood with the entertainment arena felt there was an increase in crime, and 29% of respondents from the neighborhood with the casino felt there was an increase. In contrast, crime decreased in both neighborhoods. Conclusions. Large-scale economic developments have a direct influence on the perception of violence, despite actual violence rates.