Below: Homicide-free survival among men and women (2000–2008)
Below: Incidence of homicide trend across a nine-year period (2000–2008)
Below: Male and female incidence of homicide by age group (2000–2008)
Below: Location of two significant clusters (p < 0.05) with elevated rates of homicide (2000–2008) across the surveillance area. Red dots represent the approximate location of each homicide victim’s place of residence (with intentional random error introduced) and all homesteads (black dots) are depicted
With 536 homicide-related deaths, and a median seven years of follow-up, the study found an overall homicide incidence rate of 66 deaths per 100, 000 person-years of observation (PYOs) (95 % CI 60-72) for the period under study. Death related to the use of firearms was the leading reported method of homicide (65 %) and most deaths occurred over weekends (43 %). Homicides are the second-most common cause of death in men aged 25–34 after HIV-related deaths (including TB) in this community, at 210 deaths per 100,000 PYOs, and was highest among 55–64 year old women, at 78 deaths per 100,000 PYOs. Residency status, age, socioeconomic status, and highest education level attained independently predicted the risk of homicide death. The spatial distribution of homicide deaths was not homogenous and the study identified two clear geographical clusters with significantly elevated homicide risk.
The high rates of homicide observed in this typical rural South African population – particularly among men – underscore the need for urgent interventions to reduce this tragic and theoretically preventable loss of life in this population and similar South African settings.
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