Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Year In Homicide

There has been a lot of stories in the news lately about homicides committed in hospitals. Just out of curiosity, I went to the Bureau of Labor Statistics web site and pulled some data from their Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. It confirmed what I suspected, that homicides of workers in hospitals have increased at twice the rate as correctional facilities, where worker homicides have remained stable. Here's the graph I was able to make from the BLS data:

OK, I'm in a hurry and the graph is small and fuzzy. I'll try again later, but the upshot is that the red bars (hospital murders) are up to 6 and 7 homicides per year while the blue bars (correctional facility murders) have remained stable at about 3 per year. This is only for the employees who have been murdered, not all murder victims. When I get a chance I'll go to the Bureau of Justice Statistics and see if I can find data for all murder vicitms in hospitals versus correctional facilities, not just employee victims.

When we consider the cost and repercussions of increased hospital security, think about this trend. We people wonder if it's safe to be a forensic psychiatrist in corrections, I will bring out these numbers. It does seem to be safer to work in prison than in a hospital.


Dinah said...

Bigger font?

Can we get a comparison to other occupational murders besides jails and hospitals? Grocery stores might be an issue for today.

Is there a relation to angry birds?

And will you be writing about the Arizona tragedy?

Anonymous said...

Considering the low numbers to start with (7 hospital homicides) and the facts that you show one extra hospital homicide over 2008 calendar year , no data for 2007. and the data for 2006 shows no difference, it would be very tough to argue a meaningful trend. It makes a good headline, but not great research.
Seven homicides in all of the hospitals in the U.S.? As awful as any homicide is, not sure hospitals stand out as particularly dangerous if you look at the number of homicides there as a fraction of the grand total across all industries.

Battle Weary said...

I'm thinking along the lines of anonymous above. 7 murders TOTAL, or per how many hospitals per year? Same for prisons? I don't see how an argument can be made that either location is dangerous, or more safe than the other, without looking at population within each. Statistics can tell us anything we want them to if all the information is not provided.

Anonymous said...

thank you for taking the time for this blog....
i have learned so much....thank you