We evaluated correlates of gunshot wound (GSW) injuries in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Firearm-related injury has previously been linked to socio- and geo-demographic indicators such as occupation, income, neighborhood and race in other metropolitan areas, but remains understudied in Miami.
We reviewed 4,547 cases from a Level I trauma center’s patient registry involving an intentional firearm-related injury occurring from 2002 to 2012. During this eleven-year study period, this trauma center was the only one in Miami-Dade County, and thus representative of countywide injuries.
The crude morbidity rate of GSW injury over the 11-year period was 15 per 100,000 persons with a crude mortality rate of 0.27 per 100,000 persons. The case fatality rate of injured patients was 15.4%. Both morbidity and mortality increased modestly over the 11-year study period. The total number of GSW patients rose annually during the study period and patients were disproportionately young, black males, though we observed higher severity of injury in white populations. Geo-demographic analysis revealed that both GSW incident locations and patient home addresses are spatially clustered in predominantly poor, black neighborhoods near downtown Miami, and that these patterns persisted throughout the study period. Using spatial regression, we observed that census tract-level GSW incidence rates (coded by home address) were associated with a census tract’s proportion of black residents (P < .001), single-parent households (P < .001), and median age (P < .001) (R 2 = .42).
These findings represent the first representative geo-demographic analysis of GSW injuries in Miami-Dade County, and offer evidence to support urgent, targeted community engagement and prevention strategies to reduce local firearm violence.