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Surveillance for violent deaths -- National Violent Deaths Reporting System, 17 States, 2013
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Details:
  • Corporate Authors:
    National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (U.S.). Division of Violence Prevention.
  • Description:
    Problem/Condition: In 2013, more than 57,000 persons died 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 17 U.S. states for 2013. 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: 2013.

    Description of System: NVDRS collects data from participating states regarding violent deaths obtained from death certificates, coroner/medical examiner reports, law enforcement reports, and secondary sources (e.g., child fatality review team data, supplemental homicide reports, hospital data, and crime laboratory data). This report includes data from 17 states that collected statewide data for 2013 (Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin). NVDRS collates documents for each death and links deaths that are related (e.g., multiple homicides, a homicide followed by a suicide, or multiple suicides) from a single incident.

    Results: For 2013, a total of 18,765 fatal incidents involving 19,251 deaths were captured by NVDRS in the 17 states included in this report. The majority (66.2%) of deaths were suicides, followed by homicides (23.2%), deaths of undetermined intent (8.8%), deaths involving legal intervention (1.2%) (i.e., deaths caused by law enforcement and other persons with legal authority to use deadly force, excluding legal executions), and unintentional firearm deaths (<1%). (The term legal intervention is a classification incorporated into the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision [ICD-10] and does not denote the lawfulness or legality of the circumstances surrounding a death caused by law enforcement.) Suicides occurred at higher rates among males, non-Hispanic whites, American Indian/Alaska Natives, persons aged 45–64 years, and males aged ≥75 years. Suicides were preceded primarily by a mental health, intimate partner, or physical health problem or a crisis during the previous or upcoming 2 weeks. Homicide rates were higher among males and persons aged 15–44 years; rates were highest among non-Hispanic black males. Homicides primarily were precipitated by arguments and interpersonal conflicts, occurrence in conjunction with another crime, or were related to intimate partner violence (particularly for females). A known relationship between a homicide victim and a suspected perpetrator was most likely either that of an acquaintance or friend or an intimate partner. Legal intervention death rates were highest among males and persons aged 20–24 years and 30–34 years; rates were highest among non-Hispanic black males. Precipitating factors for the majority of legal intervention deaths were another crime, a mental health problem, or a recent crisis. Deaths of undetermined intent occurred at the highest rates among males and persons aged <1 year and 45–54 years. Substance abuse and mental or physical health problems were the most common circumstances preceding deaths of undetermined intent. Unintentional firearm death rates were higher among males, non-Hispanic whites, and persons aged persons aged 15–19 and 55–64 years; these deaths were most often precipitated by a person unintentionally pulling the trigger while playing with a firearm or while hunting.

    Interpretation: This report provides a detailed summary of data from NVDRS for 2013. The results indicate that violent deaths resulting from self-inflicted or interpersonal violence disproportionately affected persons aged <65 years, males, and certain minority populations. For homicides and suicides, intimate partner problems, interpersonal conflicts, mental health problems, and recent crises were primary precipitating factors.

    Public Health Action: NVDRS data are 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. For example, Utah Violent Death Reporting System (VDRS) data were used to develop policies that support children of intimate partner homicide victims, Colorado VDRS data to develop a web-based suicide prevention program targeting middle-aged men, and Rhode Island VDRS data to help guide suicide prevention efforts at workplaces. The continued development and expansion of NVDRS to include all U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia are essential to public health efforts to reduce the impact of violence.

    Suggested citation for this article: Lyons BH, Fowler KA, Jack SP, Betz CJ, Blair JM. Surveillance for Violent Deaths — National Violent Death Reporting System, 17 States, 2013. MMWR Surveill Summ 2016;65(No. SS-10):1–42. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.ss6510a1.

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