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Utilizing a combined hospital and criminal justice database to identify risk factors for repeat firearm injury or violent-crime arrest among firearm victims

NCJ Number
Medicine Science and the Law Dated: 2022
Alexandra C.W. Reitz; Shila René Hawk; Henry D. Schwimmer; Tarek Hanna; Diane E.S. Payne
Date Published

Since identifying firearm victims with the greatest risk of repeat-firearm exposure and offering interventions has the potential to disrupt recurrent violence, this study explored risk factors associated with repeat violence among survivors of intentional firearm injury in a unique clinical and criminal justice (CJ) dataset.


Methods: This study analyzed a retrospective cohort (n = 4058) of persons injured by nonfatal intentional firearm violence from 2013 to 2016 in one metropolitan area. Data were collected from a single level I trauma center, city police records, and state CJ databases from 1948 to 2019. The primary outcome of interest was another firearm injury or violent-crime arrest (defined as a violent or firearm felony offense). Results: Among 4058 nonfatal intentional firearm victims, 1202 (29.6%) individuals had a repeat-firearm injury or violent-crime arrest. In a bivariate analysis, history of mental, physical, and/or emotional abuse (odds ratio [OR], 1.62; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.40-1.86), mental health diagnosis (OR, 1.88; 95% CI, 1.51-2.35), or illegal substance use (OR, 2.87; 95% CI, 2.48-3.32) was associated with increased risk of repeat-firearm injury or violent-crime arrest. Prior felony arrest (OR, 3.68; 95% CI, 3.19-4.24), prior incarceration (OR, 3.72; 95% CI, 3.04-4.56), prior firearm charge (OR, 4.06; 95% CI, 3.33-4.96), and suspected gang membership (OR, 8.69; 95% CI, 6.14-12.32) demonstrated the greatest association with significant repeat violence. Conclusions: Thirty percent of those who experienced an intentional firearm injury were found to have a repeat-firearm injury or violent-crime arrest multi-disciplinary interventions that address the complex needs of a CJ-involved population are needed to mitigate significant repeat violence.