| 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
- 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
for Case Review
- Scene investigation reports
- Police and crime lab reports
- CPS histories on family, child and
- Names, ages and genders of other children in
- Ballistics information on firearms
- Prior crime records in neighborhood
- Juvenile and criminal records of teen and
- Interviews with witnesses
- Information from gang squad