Revista de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1518-8787
Print version ISSN 0034-8910
PERES, Maria Fernanda Tourinho and SANTOS, Patrícia Carla dos. Trends of homicide death in Brazil in the 90s: the role of firearms. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2005, vol.39, n.1, pp.58-66. ISSN 1518-8787. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102005000100008.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the growth of homicide death in Brazil and to investigate the contribution of firearms to homicide death growth in the 90s. METHODS: An ecological descriptive time series was carried out for the period 1991 to 2000. External cause mortality data were obtained according to place of residence for the overall population and by gender from the Ministry of Health Mortality Information System. Homicides were classified as firearm, non-firearm and unknown (weapon) deaths. Proportional mortality and mortality rates (by 100,000) were calculated. RESULTS: Homicides accounted for 33% of all external cause deaths in the 90s. Firearms were used in more than 50% of deaths in 1991 and in almost 70% in 2000. This growth was seen for both genders and in all state capitals. Homicide mortality rate grew 27.5% in the whole country, and firearm homicide mortality rate grew 72.5%. During the same period there was a drop in deaths classified as unknown weapon homicide, which could partially explain the growth seen in firearm homicide rates. CONCLUSIONS: Data suggest the magnitude of firearm contribution for the growing tendency of homicide deaths in Brazil in the 90s. Data quality regarding intentionality and type of weapon used has hindered data analysis.
Keywords : Homicide; Statistics; Firearms; Mortality rate; Time series; Epidemiology, descriptive.