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J R Soc Med. 1993 February; 86(2): 87–88.
PMCID: PMC1293856

Trends in urban violence: a comparison of accident department and police records.


Police crime statistics and crime survey data are known to be poor indicators of levels of violence in society. Longitudinal investigations of assault injury have not been carried out in accident and emergency departments hitherto, but may provide an accurate perspective of trends in violence. The attendance of assault patients at a city centre accident and emergency department was compared with 'wounding against the person' recorded by the police between 1973 and 1990. Woundings recorded by the police increased consistently throughout the study period whereas the number of assault patients did not increase between 1977 and 1987. From 1975 to 1990, police statistics showed a 9-fold and accident and emergency data a 6-fold increase. Both data sets showed substantial overall increases in violence after 1987, and a decrease in 1979. Further epidemiological studies of violence are necessary.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Shepherd JP, Pierce NX, Scully C, Leslie IJ. Rates of violent crime from hospital records. Lancet. 1987 Dec 19;2(8573):1470–1471. [PubMed]
  • Shepherd J, Shapland M, Scully C. Recording by the police of violent offences; an Accident and Emergency Department perspective. Med Sci Law. 1989 Jul;29(3):251–257. [PubMed]

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