Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Profiles of Violent Death

There were 65,000 violent deaths in the United States in 2016, according to the CDC. The 62 percent majority were suicides, followed by homicides (25 percent), deaths of undetermined intent (11 percent),  legal intervention (1 percent), and unintentional firearm deaths (fewer than 1 percent). The legal intervention category is defined as "deaths caused by law enforcement and other persons with legal authority to use deadly force in the line of duty, excluding legal executions."

The CDC analyzed the circumstances surrounding the violent deaths that occurred in 32 states in 2016. In those states, there were 23,630 suicides, 10,336 homicides, 515 legal interventions, and 295 unintentional firearm deaths. The CDC examined the demographics of the victims  (age, sex, race), the method of death (firearm, sharp instrument, drowning, etc.), the location of death (house/apartment, street, etc.), and precipitating circumstances (depression, intimate partner problem, job problem, crime in progress, and so on).

Looking at the most likely scenario for each type of violent death, here are their profiles...

Suicide: A non-Hispanic White (83 percent) man (77 percent) aged 35 to 64 (52 percent) shot (49 percent) or hung (28 percent) himself in his house/apartment (74 percent) because he was depressed (74 percent). He did not leave a suicide note (66 percent), nor did he disclose to others his suicide intent (76.5 percent).

Homicide: A Black (56 percent) man (79 percent) aged 20 to 34 (46 percent) was shot (74 percent) in his house/apartment (47 percent) by an acquaintance/friend (27 percent) during an argument (32 percent).

Legal intervention death: A non-Hispanic White (50 percent) man (96 percent) aged 25 to 44 (59 percent) was shot (96 percent) in a house/apartment (38 percent) or on the street (28 percent). He had a drug problem (26 percent) or mental illness (21 percent). He had a weapon (73 percent).

Unintentional firearm death: A non-Hispanic White (59 percent) man (86 percent) aged 15 to 24 (35 percent) was in his house/apartment (74 percent), playing (35 percent) with a handgun (63 percent) when he unintentionally pulled the trigger (23.5 percent).

Source: CDC, Surveillance for Violent Deaths—National Violent Death Reporting System, 32 States, 2016

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