Combining Hospital, Police Data to Better Understand Violence

Bottom Line: This research letter suggests that combining hospital and police data might provide a more complete picture of violence in a community because some hospital-treated injuries result from violent incidents unreported to police. Nurses at an emergency department in Atlanta collected information on violent injuries that happened in public places as part of a surveillance system set up for a violence prevention program. The incidents were mapped and researchers sought to assess the percentage of violent injuries treated in the emergency department from incidents unknown to law enforcement. Emergency department screening identified 1,654 violent injuries with 1,122 of them happening in public and a large percentage unreported to police. Limitations of the study include that its findings come from only one city and its focus was on only violence in public places.

Authors: Steven A. Sumner, M.D., M.Sc., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, and coauthors

To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.