Violence

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A Hospital Tells Police Where Fights Happen, and Crime Drops

An ambulance makes its way through revelers in Cardiff city center in Wales in 2010. New measures in the city have reduced injuries caused by violence.

An ambulance makes its way through revelers in Cardiff city center in Wales in 2010. New measures in the city have reduced injuries caused by violence. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

By Nancy Shute, NPR

On Saturday night, the emergency room staff knows all too well what’s coming — people showing up with a broken jaw, a knife wound or a bashed-in face, often after too many hours in a pub. Doctors at the emergency department in Cardiff, Wales, realized that many of the people who were injured in fights never reported it to the police. That realization led to a simple program that has radically reduced the toll of violence.

The hospital already had information on where and how people in the emergency room had been injured — “which bar, which club, which street, which park, which school,” says Dr. Jonathan Shepherd, a professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at Cardiff University and an author of the study.

Many people who are injured in a fight never reported it to police, it turned out. That was particularly true with fights happening inside pubs and clubs. “They don’t know who the perpetrator was, so what’s the point of going to the police?” Shepherd tells Shots. “And they’re afraid of having their own conduct scrutinized. If it’s a fist fight or gang related or drug related, nobody’s going to want to go to the police.” Continue reading

ouRXperience: Bridge to Western Medicine for Immigrants; Safety Helps Build Healthy Communities; Spike in Homicides

The mother and brother of murder victim Meldrick Melgoza embrace at the site where he was shot. (Photo: Anabell Romero)

The mother and brother of murder victim Meldrick Melgoza embrace at the site where he was shot. (Photo: Anabell Romero)

Editor’s Note: KQED produces ouRXperience, a blog from community correspondents, to enrich coverage of health issues across California.

Recently, ouRXperience featured posts from three California communities:

In Violent Neighborhood, 15 Minutes of Meditation Calms Students

Students at Visitacion Valley School in South San Francisco observe 15 minutes of quiet time every morning.

Students at Visitacion Valley School in South San Francisco observe 15 minutes of quiet time every morning.

By Kyle Palmer

On a recent morning at Visitacion Valley Middle School in South San Francisco, Principal James Dierke looked out over the school’s auditorium at more than 100 eighth graders. A restless din filled the large room. Bursts of laughter and errant shouts punctuated the buzz. Most of the students seemed disinterested in Dierke’s announcements about the spring’s impending graduation, upcoming field trips, and recent birthdays.

Then, Dierke struck a bell and said, “Okay, it’s quiet time.”

And just like that, a hush fell over the auditorium. Students straightened their backs and closed their eyes. Some bowed their heads. Others rested them on the backs of their chairs. The once-boisterous hall became silent and remained so for the next 15 minutes.

“Visitors are always amazed,” Dierke said afterwards, “but it works. It really is quiet time.”

“These kids hear gunshots on their way to and from school. That kind of stuff makes it hard to focus on algebra.”

“Quiet Time” isn’t just a slogan but a daily regimen at Visitacion Valley. The entire school—faculty, staff, and students—spend the first and last 15 minutes of every day in silence. Students are encouraged to use the time to meditate, but Dierke says students can simply clear their mind, think about schoolwork, or even sleep. Just as long as they are quiet.

“I’ve found that it makes people—students and teachers—more joyful,” Dierke said, “To have that time to reflect and be still is important.” Continue reading