The Magnitude of Firearm Homicide in Cape Town, 2001

  • M Prinsloo MRC-UNISA Crime, Violence and Injury Lead Programme, Medical Research Council
  • R Matzopoulos MRC-UNISA Crime, Violence and Injury Lead Programme, Medical Research Council
  • A Sukhai MRC-UNISA Crime, Violence and Injury Lead Programme, Medical Research Council

Abstract

Firearm-related fatalities accounted for nearly half (46.1%) of all homicides in Cape Town in 2001. Cape Town\'s homicide rate of 88 per 100 000 population was among the highest of five cities that had full coverage by the National Injury Mortality Surveillance System (NIMSS), and while the number of non-firearm homicides has remained fairly constant, firearm homicides have steadily increased from 36 to 40 per 100 000 population between 1999 and 2001. Cape Town homicides from the NIMSS database for 2001 were extracted and descriptive variables for firearm versus non-firearm homicides were compared. Age, sex, population group, time, scene and suburb of death data were examined for both groups in order to identify potential risk factors for firearm homicide that could assist in the development of more accurate prevention strategies. Males were more frequently the victims of homicide than females, particularly among the economically active age group of 15 to 44 years. The top seven suburbs in which homicides occurred could be characterised as low-income communities and accounted for a significantly higher percentage of firearm homicides than non-firearm homicides. The research findings highlight the importance of strategies to reduce the proliferation of firearms and to minimise gunshot injuries as an urgent public health imperative.

African Safety Promotion Vol.1(2) 2002: 19-25
Published
2004-11-01
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1728-774X