When April Hirsh Urban befriended a childhood classmate too shy to speak to anyone else, she felt guided by the same force that inspires her today: an innate desire to understand the perspectives of those who need help.
“I try to see everything through a lens of potential impacts on already-vulnerable people,” she said.
Now a research associate at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Urban has expanded her focus from one to many—and her tools from conversation to multi-layered analysis.
In a report for the Western Reserve Land Conservancy that she co-authored, Urban and her colleagues mined and mapped public data to find surprising outcomes. Chief among them: Violent crime rates are higher in areas with large concentrations of vacancies. The finding—and the statistics that support it—will help guide officials working to make Cleveland neighborhoods safer.