Can communities use smartphones to reduce violence?

Rokwire is a central part in a joint research project exploring ways to use smartphone apps in community responses to violence. The project brings together a team of engineering and social and behavioral science faculty, along with such community partners as the City of Champaign. 

The researchers will investigate both social science issues and technical questions associated with how best to design smartphone apps to reduce violence. Researchers will work with the community to investigate and minimize unintended consequences associated with reporting technology (e.g., racial profiling, victim-blaming). 

The study will also evaluate technical methods to assure data privacy so that users do not risk revealing their identities at any stage of the research and community activity process. The researchers hope to determine the mechanisms behind whether and why violence tracking and intervention apps can decrease violence.

The research group includes professors Sanjay Patel (Electrical and Computer Engineering), William Sullivan (Human & Community Development), Cristina Alvarez-Mingote (Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute), Peter Ondish (Center for Social and Behavioral Science), and Nicole Allen (Psychology).

The study is partially funded by an NSF grant.

Lecture. Faculty interested in learning more about the vision and goals of the partnership between the Smart, Healthy Communities Initiative and the Center for Social and Behavioral Science are encouraged to attend the upcoming Rokwire Community Lecture at noon on Wednesday November 17. Dr. Peter Ondish, Research Scientist at the Center for Social and Behavioral Science (CSBS) will speak on “Social Science Research and the Rokwire Platform.” The lecture will be held at the Siebel Center for Design in room 1002 and virtually via Zoom. The session will begin with a 30-minute presentation followed by Q&A. Register to receive reminders and Zoom links.