Upsurge in the number of murders in the United States

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After years of dormancy and improvement, the number of murders committed with a firearm in the United States is on the rise again, shows a study published in the last few days by the Centers for control and prevention of diseases.

Pursuant to statistics compiled by the researchers, 27 394 murders were committed using a firearm in the United States in 2015-2016, for a rate of 4.4 homicides by firearm per 100 000 inhabitants. The number, 3224 have been committed by children aged 10 to 19 years.

This is a net decline in the United States, while in 2012-2013, there were 22 822 murders by firearm in the country, a rate of 3.7 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. Not least of 2858 had been committed by children.

In comparison, 611 people have been killed in Canada in 2016, for a rate of 1.68 murder per 100 000 inhabitants. These Statistics Canada data include all homicides, including those committed with a firearm.

The number of suicides committed with a firearm has also jumped in the United States during the study period, rising from 41 833 (74/100, 000 inhabitants) in 2012-2013 to 44 950 (to 7.7/100 000 inhabitants) in 2015-2016. The trend is the same among young people 10 to 19 years, where the number of suicides by firearm has increased from 1736 to 2118.

The data were also disaggregated by the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the country. Thus, it is in New Orleans, Louisiana, that the rate of murder by firearm was the highest in 2015-2016 with a 16.6 killings per 100,000 inhabitants, a decrease compared to 2012-2013 (and 18.2/100 000 inhabitants).

It is, however, in the Chicago area that has the most murders by firearm 1527 homicides, for a rate of 8.1 murders per 100 000 inhabitants. The only other metropolitan area to cross the milestone of 1000 firearm homicides is that of Los Angeles, New York combining that 937 murders (2,4/100 000 inhabitants).

In 2015-2016, the homicide was the 16th leading cause of death in the United States and the third among young people aged 10 to 19 years. The three-quarters of the homicides involved a firearm, a proportion that rises to 87 % among young people.