Friday, August 26, 2011

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Releases Latest Data on Deaths

“Surveillance for Violent Deaths — National Violent Death Reporting System, 16 States, 2008,” appears in the August 26, 2011 online edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Surveillance Summaries (MMWR). 

Report Highlights:

The new report compiled data on 16,138 deaths in 2008 from 16 NVDRS states. A majority of these deaths were:

  • Suicides (58.7%)
  • Homicide/legal intervention deaths (26.4%)
  • Deaths of undetermined intent (14.5%)

NVDRS provides a comprehensive picture by combining once fragmented pieces of information from:

  • Death certificates
  • Coroner/medical examiner reports
  • Toxicology results
  • Law enforcement reports
  • And other reports related to each death

Data are used to inform prevention efforts by providing a more complete understanding of the circumstances preceding deaths in these 16 states.

To Learn More:


"Escalated interpersonal conflicts with an intimate partner, a friend, or another acquaintance remained the primary preceding circumstances for homicide. These circumstances were vastly more common than random acts of violence, hate crimes, or drive by shootings. For incidents with male victims, arguments with an acquaintance other than an intimate partner most often preceded homicide. Homicides with female victims were most often a result of intimate partner violence. Similar findings were provided in previous reports and studies (7--9,21). These findings provide more evidence that homicides are most commonly perpetrated by someone known to the victim, and strategies designed to reduce interpersonal and relationship conflicts might be valuable for prevention efforts.

Homicide-followed-by-suicide (i.e., homicide-suicide) incidents continued to be rare in 2008. However, they did account for the greatest proportion of violent incidents that involved multiple deaths. Similar to other reports and previous data years, perpetrators of homicide-suicide incidents were mostly white males of mid-late adulthood (i.e., aged 35--54 years) and victims were mostly females who were either current of former intimate partners of the perpetrator (21,23,24). As expected, intimate partner problems were among the most common circumstances preceding these incidents (7--9,21); however, job/financial problems and mental health problems were two to three times more common among perpetrators in 2008 versus those in 2007.  

NVDRS continues to show that interpersonal conflicts and relationship problems, particularly with an intimate partner, are common circumstances preceding a violent event.

 In addition to demonstrating the need to address the situational stressors highlighted in this report, prevention strategies also need to focus on community level factors. For example, changing cultural and social norms (e.g., attitudes condoning the use of violence as a means of resolving conflict) and addressing the social and economic conditions within communities that often give rise to violence (e.g., inequities with regard to the distribution of and access to resources and opportunities, social isolation and lack of connectedness among persons, families, and communities) might further help prevent violence.

Accurate, timely, and comprehensive surveillance data can be used to monitor the occurrence of violence-related fatal injuries and assist public health and other authorities in the development, implementation, and evaluation of programs and policies that reduce and prevent violent deaths and injuries at the national, state, and local levels (36,37). Continued development and expansion of NVDRS is critical to the public health and criminal justice communities at the federal, state, and local levels that work to reduce the personal, familial, and societal costs of violence. Further efforts are needed to increase the number of states participating in NVDRS, with the ultimate goal of full national representation, including all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. 

CIRCUMSTANCES - Circumstances preceding fatal injury, by manner of death --- National Violent Death Reporting System, 16 states, 2008 (ABSTRACTED)

  • Intimate partner problem: problems with a current or former intimate partner that appear to have contributed to the suicide.
  • Other legal problem: decedent was facing civil legal problems (e.g., a child custody or civil lawsuit).
  • Perpetrator of interpersonal violence in previous month: decedent perpetrated interpersonal violence (e.g., being sought by police for assault or having been issued a restraining order resulting from recent violence) during the previous month.
  • Victim of interpersonal violence in previous month: decedent was the target of interpersonal violence in the past month.
  • Other argument, abuse, conflict: conflict between decedent and suspect was over something other than money, property, or drugs.
  • Jealousy ("lovers' triangle"): jealousy or distress over an intimate partner's relationship or suspected relationship with another person led to the homicide.
  • Intimate-partner violence--related: homicide is related to conflict between current or former intimate partners; includes the death of actual intimate partners and nonintimate partner decedents killed to cause pain to an intimate partner (e.g., child or parent).
Key STATS - Suicides
30.9% - Intimate Partner Problem - 32.2% of Males and 25.9% Females who commit suicide.
27.9% - Crisis in past or impending 2 weeks - 29% Males and 24% Females
74.6% - Depression - 74.2% Males and 75.4 Females
9.3% - Anxiety - 8.4% Males and 11.4% Female
1.6% - PTSD

KEY STATS - Homicides
22.9% Married
10.2% Spouse/Intimate partner (current or former)
.8% Other intimate partner involvement
18.1% Females Age 35-44
18.7% Males Age 20-24
53.5% Black, Non-hispanic Males
50.7% White Females
52.2% Mudered at home
18.4% Intimate partner-violence-related - 7.6% Males and 51.6% Females
24.3% Assault/Homicide

KEY STATS - Undetermined Death
11.1% Intimate partner problem 
14.7% Crisis in past or impending 2 weeks

To see entire report, please visit the CDC's website.

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