Homicide-Firearm
Fact Sheet
In 2000, 1,242 children in the United States died from intentional firearm-related injuries. Homicides of children are most often murders of teens by other teens.

Youth homicides represent the greatest proportion of all firearm deaths. Each day in the U.S., firearms kill an average of 10 children and teens, even though the number of teens killed by firearms in the U.S. has dropped by 35% in the past four years. In 1999, the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey reported that almost one-fifth of the 10th and 12th graders indicated that they had carried a firearm within the previous 30 days for self-defense or to settle disputes.

Youth homicide is a serious problem in large urban areas, especially among black males. Homicides are the number one cause of death for black and Hispanic teens. Yet when socio-economic status is held constant, differences in homicide rates by race become insignificant. Major contributing factors in addition to poverty include easy access to handguns, involvement in drug and gang activity, family disruption and school failure. These homicides usually occur in connection with an argument or dispute. They almost always are committed by casual acquaintances of the same gender, race and age, using inexpensive, easily acquired handguns.

Violence prevention research has demonstrated that strategies are most effective when they identify high-risk children in their earliest years and intervene at multiple levels through collaborative community partnerships.
Major Risk Factors
  • Youth active in drug and gang activity, with prior histories of early school failure, delinquency and violence.
  • Easy availability of and access to firearms.
  • Youth living in neighborhoods with high rates of poverty, social isolation and family violence.
  • Youth with little or no adult supervision.
  • Prior witnessing of violence
Records Needed for Case Review
  • Scene investigation reports
  • Police and crime lab reports
  • CPS histories on family, child and perpetrators
  • Names, ages and genders of other children in home
  • Ballistics information on firearms
  • Prior crime records in neighborhood
  • Juvenile and criminal records of teen and perpetrators
  • Interviews with witnesses
  • Information from gang squad
Resources

Prevention
  • Intensive, early intervention services for high-risk parents.
  • Targeted activities in neighborhoods with high homicide rates, including:
  • Enhanced police presence and gun deterrence in hot spots.
  • Involvement of political leaders.
  • Widespread mobilization of neighbors and community members.
  • After-school recreation programs.
  • Neighborhood Watch.
  • Interdiction of illegal guns and focused prosecution of gun offenders.
  • Dropout prevention programs and alternative education opportunities.
  • Mentoring, therapy and bullying prevention support programs.
  • Multi-systemic therapy for troubled youth.