A report in a recent issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report summarizes data from CDC's National Violent Death Reporting System
(NVDRS) concerning violent deaths from 16 U.S. states for 2005. Results
are reported by sex, age group, race/ethnicity, marital status,
location of injury, method of injury, circumstances of injury, and
other selected characteristics. NVDRS collects data regarding violent deaths
obtained from death certificates, coroner/medical examiner reports, and
law enforcement reports. A total of
15,495 fatal incidents involving 15,962 violent deaths occurred in the
16 NVDRS states included in the report.
The majority (56.1%) of deaths
were suicides, followed by homicides and deaths involving legal
interventions (29.6%), violent deaths of undetermined intent (13.3%),
and unintentional firearm deaths (0.7%). Fatal injury rates varied by
sex, race/ethnicity, age group, and method of injury. Rates were
substantially higher for males than for females and for American
Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) and blacks than for whites and
Hispanics. Rates were highest for persons aged 20-24 years.
of injury, the three highest rates were reported for firearms,
poisonings, and hanging/strangulation/suffocation. Suicides occurred at
higher rates among males, AI/ANs, whites, and older persons and most
often involved the use of firearms in the home. Suicides were
precipitated primarily by mental illness, intimate partner or physical
health problems, or a crisis during the previous 2 weeks. Homicides
occurred at higher rates among males and young adult blacks and most
often involved the use of firearms in the home or on a street/highway.
Homicides were precipitated primarily by an argument over something
other than money or property or in conjunction with another crime.
The results indicate that
deaths resulting from self-inflicted or interpersonal violence occur to
a varying extent among males and females of every age group and
racial/ethnic population. Key factors affecting rates of violent fatal
injuries include sex, age group, method of injury, location of injury,
and precipitating circumstances (e.g., mental health and substance
abuse). The data provided in the report is preliminary in nature given the sampling procedures used and states participating in the survey.
and comprehensive surveillance data are necessary for the occurrence of
violent deaths in the United States to be understood better and
ultimately prevented. NVDRS data can be used to track the occurrence of
violence-related fatal injuries and assist public health authorities in
the development, implementation, and evaluation of programs and
policies to reduce and prevent violent deaths and injuries at the
national, state, and local levels. The continued development and
expansion of NVDRS is essential to CDC's efforts to reduce the
personal, familial, and societal costs of violence. Further efforts are
needed to increase the number of states using NVDRS, with an ultimate
goal of full national representation.