Am J Public Health. 2023 Jan;113(S1):S21-S28. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2022.307079.
Objectives. To measure neighborhood exposure to proactive policing as a manifestation of structural racism and its association with preterm birth. Methods. We linked all birth records in New Orleans, Louisiana (n = 9102), with annual census tract rates of proactive police stops using data from the New Orleans Police Department (2018-2019). We fit multilevel Poisson models predicting preterm birth across quintiles of stop rates, controlling for several individual- and tract-level covariates. Results. Nearly 20% of Black versus 8% of White birthing people lived in neighborhoods with the highest rates of proactive police stops. Fully adjusted models among Black birthing people suggest the prevalence of preterm birth in the neighborhoods with the highest proactive policing rates was 1.41 times that of neighborhoods with the lowest rates (95% confidence interval = 1.04, 1.93), but associations among White birthing people were not statistically significant. Conclusions. Taken together with previous research, high rates of proactive policing likely contribute to Black‒White inequities in reproductive health. Public Health Implications. Proactive policing is widely implemented to deter violence, but alternative strategies without police should be considered to prevent potential adverse health consequences. (Am J Public Health. 2023;113(S1):S21-S28. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2022.307079).