CDC: Deaths by firearms increase 35%, especially in impoverished areas

May 10, 2022 Atlanta: An Atlanta police K-9 unit works the scene at the Skylark apartment complex on Boulevard after a shooting and car break-ins. Investigators are working to learn what happened before a gunshot victim ended up dead Tuesday morning, May 10, 2022 at a southeast Atlanta apartment complex.  (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

May 10, 2022 Atlanta: An Atlanta police K-9 unit works the scene at the Skylark apartment complex on Boulevard after a shooting and car break-ins. Investigators are working to learn what happened before a gunshot victim ended up dead Tuesday morning, May 10, 2022 at a southeast Atlanta apartment complex. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Guns were used in 79% of all homicides in 2020, the highest rate in more than 25 years, according to CDC findings released Tuesday.

The rate of firearms used in homicides has also increased 35% across the county in both large and small metro areas, the CDC said. The rate increased in areas with higher poverty levels, according to the findings.

During the same year, guns were used in 53% of all suicides, the CDC said.

The firearm homicide rate in 2020 was the highest recorded in over 25 years, and the firearm suicide rate stayed high....

Posted by CDC on Tuesday, May 10, 2022

“The tragic and historic increase in firearm homicide and the persistently high rates of firearm suicide underscore the urgent need for action to reduce firearm-related injuries and deaths,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “By addressing factors contributing to homicide and suicide and providing support to communities, we can help stop violence now and in the future.”

Cities throughout the U.S. have experienced an increase in violent crimes including homicides in recent years. The CDC report offers another layer of quantifying how much guns have been involved.

In Atlanta, roughly 92% percent of the city’s 2021 homicides involved a firearm, according to data previously released by the Atlanta Police Department. In 2020, guns were used in about 90% of Atlanta’s homicides, data showed. The mayor and police department leaders have repeatedly urged that arguments be settled without guns.

“Everybody just needs to take a deep breath,” Lt. Ralph Woolfolk, APD homicide commander, said after a March shooting that killed a teenager. “We need to embrace one another, we need a little more empathy and understanding. The amount of conflict that we’re seeing in our society and the inability to deescalate situations is certainly playing a factor with our homicides here in the city of Atlanta.”

In 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic spread, there were 45,222 gun-related deaths in the U.S., according to CDC data. More than half of those deaths were suicides and a little more than 40% were homicides.

According to the CDC, homicide rates involving firearms are usually highest among males, teenagers, and young adults. In 2020, the rates increased in all age groups, with the highest rates found for those between 10–44 years old. Non-Hispanic Black persons had the highest rates and increases, the CDC reported.

“Firearm deaths are preventable — not inevitable — and everyone has a role to play in prevention,” said Dr. Debra Houry, the CDC’s acting principal deputy director and director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Resources like CDC’s violence prevention technical packages and surveillance systems can give leaders tools to lay the foundation for healthier and safer communities.”


MORE DETAILS

In Atlanta, roughly 92% percent of the city’s 2021 homicides involved a firearm, according to data previously released by the Atlanta Police Department. In 2020, guns were used in about 90% of Atlanta’s homicides, data showed.


SEEKING HELP

Individuals with suicidal thoughts, or those who notice signs in others, can call the Georgia Crisis and Access Line at 1-800-715-4225, which is available around the clock. All calls are free and confidential.

To find a mental health service provider, visit mygcal.com.

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