New data shows alcohol use contributes to homicides

Chicago, IL – A recent study shows that alcohol was found in a significant amount of victims of homicide aged 15 years and older according to researchers at the Child Health Data Lab (CHDL) which is housed at the research center at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. The data was pulled from the Illinois Violent Death Reporting System which provides policy makers with valuable data to assist in prevention efforts. 

“Alcohol was determined to be present in 38 percent of all victims of homicide in the five counties that IVDRS collects data from and which compromise the most homicides in the state,“ said Tracie Smith, MPH, Assistant Director of the CHDL.  The counties - Cook, DuPage, Kane, McHenry and Peoria – accounted for nearly 74.3 percent of all homicides in Illinois from 2005 to 2009.

The data also shows victims of homicide are overwhelming male (85.2%); killed by a firearm (78.6%); the majority of the victims are black (69.1%) and under the age of 35 (73.1%).

“These findings are not surprising, but if you drill down further you see that the majority of homicides where alcohol is involved seems to be between people who know each other, such as a boyfriend, girlfriend or a sibling,” said Smith.  

Other findings include: 
•    61.2 percent  of the victims tested positive for alcohol when the victim was the girl/boyfriend of the suspect
•    53.9 percent if the victim was a friend or acquaintance
•    26.7 percent if the victim was a target of a gang member 

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