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; 81(4 Suppl 1):S48-53

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The United States reports the highest levels of firearm homicide incidences compared to other high income countries, and the focus and causes of these incidences within the US differ by demographic characteristics and location such as urban versus rural environment. Despite these findings, few studies have published on rates varied by region within a city. OBJECTIVE: This study aims 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, and 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 conducts routine surveillance of violent deaths. Decedents were selected according to the following criteria: manner of death was homicide, weapon type was firearm, and location of injury that led to death was the City of Chicago. Location of injury was broken down by regions: North, Northwest, Center, West, South, Southwest, and Far South. Multiyear 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 demographics 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 to 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, whereas 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 versus 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, and funding for issues that address systemic poverty and adequate access to care and medical facilities. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Epidemiologic study, level IV.

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