Rates of firearm homicide by Chicago Region, Age, Sex and Race/Ethnicity, 2005-2010

Walker, G. N.; McLone, S.; Mason, M.; Sheehan, K.

J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2016 Aug 5


BACKGROUND: The United States reports the highest levels of firearm homicide incidences compared to other high income countries(1) and the focus and causes of these incidence within the US differ by demographic characteristics and location such as urban vs rural environment. Despite these findings, few studies have published on rates varied by region within a city. OBJECTIVE: To provide descriptive analysis of the rates of firearm homicide by age, sex and race/ethnicity in each of the seven City of Chicago regions. To determine if the rates of firearm homicide differ by demographics among the seven City of Chicago regions METHODS: The Illinois Violent Death Reporting System (IVDRS) conducts routine surveillance of violent deaths. Decedents were selected according to the following criteria: manner of death was homicide, weapon type was firearm, location of injury which lead to death was the City of Chicago. Location of injury was broken down by regions: North, Northwest, Center, West, South, Southwest, and Far South. Multi-year rates per 100,000 and corresponding 95% Confidence Intervals were calculated. RESULTS: There were 2,254 victims of homicide by firearm in the City of Chicago. The overall rate across Chicago for all demographic was 12.9 (12.1-13.5 per 100,000) with an average age of 27.4. The highest age group (20-24) for firearm homicide rates was 43.2 (39.7-46.7) per 100,000. For the youngest age group (10-14) only the southwest (3.3-10.4) region reported any firearm incidence. The 20-24 age group reported the highest rates of all age groups within the south (107.9-151.7) west (80.3-108.2) and far south (69.6-105.3) regions while the north and northwest reported the lowest rates for all regions by age. Black firearm homicide rates were 33.5 (31.9-35.1) per 100,000 verses Hispanic and Non-Hispanic white firearm homicide rates of 8.5 (7.7-9.3) and 1.2 (1-1.5) per 100,000 respectively. Lastly, the West reported the highest firearm rates at 29.1 (657). CONCLUSION: In conclusion Chicago is a large city that has high variation in firearm homicide rates among its constituent regions; therefore, an overall firearm homicide rate for the city of Chicago as a whole is not an accurate representation of the true nature of firearm homicides. Policy implementation may be made more effective by providing more regional analysis and targeted interventions via multipronged initiatives to help reduce future firearm rates, as well as funding for issues that address systemic poverty and adequate access to care and medical facilities. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Retrospective Cross Sectional Analysis Level 4.

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