255749 Geographic distribution of risk of death due to homicides in Puerto Rico, 2001-2010

Monday, October 29, 2012

Diego Zavala-Zegarra, MSc, PhD , Public Health, Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ponce, PR
Magdalena López-Charneco, MSc , School of Public Health, John Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
The study aims to raise awareness on the impact of violent deaths in Puerto Rico based on the findings of the spatial and temporal distribution of homicides and the use of firearms by age and gender using reports from the Institute of Forensic Science (IFS).

A total of 8542 homicide incidents of Puerto Rico's residents were reported by the IFS for the period 2001-2010. Information for each case includes age, sex, municipality (county) of incident, date of death, and mechanism. Crude, sex and age-specific mortality rates for Puerto Rico and for each municipality per year and for the ten year period were calculated. Cumulative rate and cumulative risks were estimated and defined as lifetime risk. The relative distribution of cumulative rates for each municipality was categorized into quartiles with the top quartile reported as highest risk of homicide death.

The risk of homicide death in males is thirteen times greater than among females. The highest rates are observed among males 20-24 years of age (198.4 homicides per 100,000). Firearms are used in at least 80% of homicides in Puerto Rico at any given year. The average lifetime risk of homicide death for males is 1 in 34.

Young adult males with access to firearms are at greatest risk of homicide in Puerto Rico. Highly urbanized municipalities are at highest risk of homicide. However other non-urban municipalities along the coast in the Northeast, East and Southern region are also among the highest or second highest risk of homicide death.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Objective: Describe the rates of homicide by gender and the main context in which homicides occur in Puerto Rico for a ten year period (2001-2010). The objective of the presentation is for the audience to know about the population at high risk of death due to homicide in Puerto Rico and the main context in which these deaths occur.

Keywords: Youth Violence, Homicide

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: In the last five years, I have been actively involved in implementing injury prevention and control initiatives at the international level. My main areas of interest is violence prevention and disaster assessment.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.