Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Year In Homicide

There has been a lot of stories in the news lately about homicides committed in hospitals. Just out of curiosity, I went to the Bureau of Labor Statistics web site and pulled some data from their Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. It confirmed what I suspected, that homicides of workers in hospitals have increased at twice the rate as correctional facilities, where worker homicides have remained stable. Here's the graph I was able to make from the BLS data:

OK, I'm in a hurry and the graph is small and fuzzy. I'll try again later, but the upshot is that the red bars (hospital murders) are up to 6 and 7 homicides per year while the blue bars (correctional facility murders) have remained stable at about 3 per year. This is only for the employees who have been murdered, not all murder victims. When I get a chance I'll go to the Bureau of Justice Statistics and see if I can find data for all murder vicitms in hospitals versus correctional facilities, not just employee victims.

When we consider the cost and repercussions of increased hospital security, think about this trend. We people wonder if it's safe to be a forensic psychiatrist in corrections, I will bring out these numbers. It does seem to be safer to work in prison than in a hospital.