Firearm Homicide Rates Higher in Metropolitan Areas

And rate in youths usually higher than all-ages rate; suicide rate often lower in cities

THURSDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) usually have higher rates of firearm-related homicides than the national average, and the rate in youths exceeds the all-ages rate in most MSAs and cities, according to a report in the May 13 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Scott R. Kegler, Ph.D., of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the National Vital Statistics System and the U.S. Census Bureau to report on the status of violence-related firearm deaths in the United States.

The researcher found that, during 2006 to 2007, 25,423 firearm-related homicides and 34,235 firearm-related suicides occurred; 4,166 of the homicides and 1,446 of the suicides were among youths aged 10 to 19, and the rate of firearm-related homicides among youths slightly exceeded the rate among individuals of all ages. In about two-thirds of MSAs, firearm homicide rates were above the national average, and in 86 percent of cities, rates were higher than in their MSAs. In 80 percent of MSAs and 88 percent of cities, the rate of firearm-related homicides involving youths exceeded the all-ages rate. Firearm-related suicide rates were below the national rate in just more than half the MSAs; and in 55 percent of cities, rates were below those of their MSAs. Firearm suicide rates in youths were collectively low in MSAs and cities compared with all-ages rates.

"Such variations in firearm homicide and firearm suicide rates, with respect to both urbanization and age, should be considered in the continuing development of prevention programs directed at reducing firearm violence," the authors write.

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