CDC Releases Alarming New Gun Violence Statistics, Local Law Enforcement Emphasizes Education and Prevention

DELMARVA – Tuesday, the CDC released alarming new statistics on gun violence in America.

Alarming statistics

The health agency says the number of gun-related homicides and suicides increased by 35% between 2019 and 2020. This is the highest increase in more than 25 years.

“These findings underscore the importance of comprehensive approaches that can stop violence now and prevent future deaths,” said Dr. Debra Houry, CDC’s acting senior deputy director and director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. from the CDC. “We must be vigilant about the conditions that contribute to homicides and suicides, and the disparities observed.”

Although researchers were unable to identify a specific cause for the spike, the CDC says a possible explanation is stressors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. “These include changes and disruptions to services, education, social isolation, economic stressors such as job loss, housing instability and difficulty covering expenses. daily,” said associate director of science for the CDC’s Violence Prevention Division, Dr. Thomas Simon.

The research focused on disparities in gun violence based on age, gender, race and ethnicity, and geographic location. “Black men and boys between the ages of 10 and 44 already had the highest rate of firearm homicides. This group saw the greatest increase,” Dr. Simon said. “Gun suicide rates were highest in rural non-metropolitan areas.”

Dr. Simon says the greatest increase in gun-related suicides has occurred in Native American and Alaska Native, Hispanic and Black communities. He noted that the levels of poverty these communities commonly face was a contributing factor.

“Gun homicides and suicides are associated with economic conditions. Racial and ethnic minority groups are more likely to live in communities where poverty prevails,” Dr Simon said. “Long-standing systemic inequalities and structural racism limit economic, housing and educational opportunities. They contribute to unjust and avoidable disparities between certain racial and ethnic groups.

Education is prevention

On Delmarva, local law enforcement says they want community members to know gun violence is preventable, not inevitable. “We welcome questions from people considering gun ownership. We can help provide educational pieces,” said Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan.

Worcester County Sheriff Matt Crisafulli said preventing gun violence starts with education and responsible gun ownership. “Safety is always the priority in everything we do. We just encourage residents to keep these safety measures first and foremost if they own firearms,” he said.

Sheriff Crisafulli says gun owners should keep their firearms locked up and separate from ammunition. “If you’re going to be a gun owner – it’s your basic right as law-abiding citizens – we just encourage them to use safe practices when owning a gun,” he said. he declares. “As the residents get older, they really should take hunter safety courses and learn the nomenclature of the weapon, become familiar with the firearm, and always treat it as it’s loaded.”

Local numbers

Between 2018 and 2022, Sheriff Crisafulli says there were three gun-related homicides and eight gun-related suicides in Worcester County. While the sheriff says those numbers may seem insignificant to some, the urgent need to keep them from rising is not. Sheriff Crisafulli says that’s especially true if you have little ones at home.

“Being born and bred for the residents, it’s the fabric of our land with hunting, playing with guns. Many of our residents were born and live with guns,” he said. “If you have young children, legally the weapons must be locked up and inaccessible to young children. We just want to encourage them to make sure they are out of the reach of young children.

Meanwhile in Salisbury, Chief Duncan says 41 firearms were taken off the streets by law enforcement in 2022. There have been 21 cases of gunfire, with at least one person injured, according to the chief. She says this trend has only grown in recent years. “Gun recovery cases are definitely on the rise. Cases of reports of gunshots, whether or not a victim was injured, are definitively increasing,” she said.

Look forward

Chief Duncan says she’s encouraged by the CDC’s tracking of gun violence statistics. But, because gun violence is such a complex issue, she believes prevention must start at home. Chief Duncan says Salisbury Police are there to help.

“Kids know where the handguns are, they know where the shotguns are. They know where all these materials are. If you think your child has no idea, you’re wrong,” she said. “It’s about this communication that the child and the parent have with each other. It’s about understanding the natural curiosities that children have. And, it’s about understanding your commitment and requirement to keep yourself and your family educated. »

The CDC says gun violence is an extremely complicated problem and cannot be solved overnight. However, Dr. Houry says measures such as community outreach, linking at-risk populations to community services, counseling and education are good first steps. “Ending gun violence now and in the future requires a comprehensive approach focused on reducing inequalities,” she said. “These approaches can complement the work of law enforcement to make their job easier and communities safer.”