Surveillance for violent deaths -- National Violent Death Reporting System, 16 states, 2010
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Surveillance for violent deaths -- National Violent Death Reporting System, 16 states, 2010

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  • Journal Article:
    MWR. CDC surveillance summaries : Morbidity and mortality weekly report. CDC surveillance summaries
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    Problem/Condition: An estimated 55,000 persons die annually in the United States as a result of violence-related injuries. This report summarizes data from CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) regarding violent deaths from 16 U.S. states for 2010. Results are reported by sex, age group, race/ethnicity, marital status, location of injury, method of injury, circumstances of injury, and other selected characteristics.

    Reporting Period Covered: 2010.

    Description of System: NVDRS collects data regarding violent deaths obtained from death certificates, coroner/medical examiner reports, law enforcement reports, and secondary sources (e.g., child fatality review team data, supplementary homicide reports, hospital data, and crime laboratory data). NVDRS data collection began in 2003 with seven states (Alaska, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, and Virginia) participating; six states (Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin) joined in 2004, four (California, Kentucky, New Mexico, and Utah) in 2005, and two in 2010 (Ohio and Michigan), for a total of 19 states. This report includes data from 16 states that collected statewide data in 2010; data from California are not included in this report because data were not collected after 2009. Ohio and Michigan were excluded because data collection, which began in 2010, did not occur statewide until 2011.

    Results: For 2010, a total of 15,781 fatal incidents involving 16,186 deaths were captured by NVDRS in the 16 states included in this report. The majority (62.8%) of deaths were suicides, followed by homicides and deaths involving legal intervention (i.e., deaths caused by law enforcement and other persons with legal authority to use deadly force, excluding legal executions) (24.4%), deaths of undetermined intent (12.2%), and unintentional firearm deaths (0.7%). Suicides occurred at higher rates among males, non-Hispanic whites, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and persons aged 45–54 years. Suicides most often occurred in a house or apartment and involved the use of firearms. Suicides were preceded primarily by a mental health or intimate partner problem, a crisis during the previous 2 weeks, or a physical health problem. Homicides occurred at higher rates among males and persons aged 20–24 years; rates were highest among non-Hispanic black males. The majority of homicides involved the use of a firearm and occurred in a house or apartment or on a street/highway. Homicides were precipitated primarily by arguments and interpersonal conflicts or in conjunction with another crime.

    Interpretation: This report provides a detailed summary of data from NVDRS for 2010. The results indicate that violent deaths resulting from self-inflicted or interpersonal violence disproportionately affected persons aged <55 years, males, and certain minority populations. For homicides and suicides, relationship problems, interpersonal conflicts, mental health problems, and recent crises were among the primary precipitating factors. Because additional information might be reported subsequently as participating states update their findings, the data provided in this report are preliminary.

    Public Health Action: For the occurrence of violent deaths in the United States to be better understood and ultimately prevented, accurate, timely, and comprehensive surveillance data are necessary. NVDRS data can be used to monitor 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 at the national, state, and local levels. NVDRS data have been used to enhance prevention programs. Examples include use of linked NVDRS data and adult protective service data to better target elder maltreatment

    prevention programs and improve staff training to identify violent death risks for older adults in North Carolina, use of Oklahoma VDRS homicide data to help evaluate the effectiveness of a new police and advocate intervention at domestic violence incident scenes, and data-informed changes in primary care practice in Oregon to more effectively address older adult suicide prevention. The continued development and expansion of NVDRS is essential to CDC’s efforts to reduce the personal, familial, and societal impacts of violence. Further efforts are needed to increase the number of states participating in NVDRS, with an ultimate goal of full national representation.

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