Law, Tina, Simone Seiver, Andrew V. Papachristos, and Pina Violano (2017), Age of Gunshot Wound Victims in New Haven, 2003-2015. ISPS Working Paper ISPS17-03. Yale University Institution for Social and Policy Studies.
Since the dramatic surge in violent crime among youth that swept the country during the 1980s and 1990s, gun violence in U.S. cities has largely been treated as a young person’s problem. Research and resources, along with media coverage, is often directed towards addressing gun violence among teens and young adults. However, has the age distribution of gunshot wound victims remained the same over time? Using data on all gunshot wounds (GSW) treated at Yale New Haven Hospital between 2003 and 2015, we explore trends in the age distribution of GSW victims in New Haven, Connecticut. Contrary to the prevailing framing of age and gun violence, we found that GSW victims in New Haven are 27 years old on average and have become older over time. Over the past thirteen years, the average age of GSW victims in the city has increased steadily from 23.9 to 27.6 years old. The upward trend in average age is seen across all racial groups, as well as for both fatal and non-fatal GSW incidents. Moreover, we find that while the average age of black GSW victims increased about two years over the study period (from 24.4 to 26 years old), the average age of Hispanic and white GSW victims increased nearly eight (from 21 to 28.7 years old) and nine years (23 to 31.5 years old), respectively. The findings suggest a need to understand age and urban gun violence from a more nuanced perspective that takes into account longitudinal trends and racial disparities.
CT - New Haven