Youth murder rates hit 30-year low, guns involved in most homicides

Updated
Young women watch as police prepare to remove the remains of their friend after he was shot and killed on June 22, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.
Young women watch as police prepare to remove the remains of their friend after he was shot and killed on June 22, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Homicide rates for America’s youth hit a 30-year low, according to an encouraging new report from the Centers for Disease Control.

The study found the murder rates for kids, teens and young adults aged 10 to 24–across all races and ethnicities–dropped to 7.5 out of every 100,000 in 2010.

The CDC looked at trends between 1981 and 2010. There was spike in murders between 1985 and 1993, but otherwise the numbers have declined. More recently, between 2000 to 2010, the rate fell by approximately 1% every year.

The pace of decline has been slower for the groups at the “highest-risk” for violence, such as males and non-Hispanic blacks, and from deaths caused by guns.

“Nearly 80% of all homicides during the 30-year study period were firearm homicides,” the report noted. “The annual rate of firearm homicide was on average 3.7 times the annual rate of non-firearm homicide during this period.”

Homicides still rank as one of the top leading causes of deaths for adolescents.  Injuries sustained from accidents come in first place, followed by homicides in second place. Suicide is the third biggest killer.

The CDC warned, “The continued use of evidence-based, primary prevention strategies to stop youth violence is needed. The public health sector reaching the highest-risk youths with effective prevention is particularly critical.”

The report, which was released on Thursday, comes as the nation remain focused on the George Zimmerman trial. The 29-year-old pleaded not guilty to second degree murder charges in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

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Youth murder rates hit 30-year low, guns involved in most homicides

Updated