Epidemiologic characteristics of child homicides in Atlanta, 1970-1980

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Homicide is now among the five most common causes of death in children. As part of an epidemiologic investigation of a cluster of related homicides of children in Atlanta from 1979 to 1981, data were reviewed concerning background cases that occurred from 1970 through 1980. Homicides of children under the age of 16 years occurred in every year (median 5/year) in a bimodal distribution with peaks in children under 2 years old and 13-15 years old. Although firearms and knives were the most common weapons in older children, physical force predominated in those under 8 years old. In most cases, the victims knew their assailants. Family members accounted for 91% of the perpetrators when the victims was less than 2 years old. Homicide rates for black children were higher than those for caucasian children; for both groups, rates for children residing in census tracts of low socioeconomic status were about twice those in higher status tracts. These findings reflect trends observed nationally and suggest avenues for public health interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-67
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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