In a few weeks, the Houston City Council will vote on whether to fund a computer system which will pull together in one place more complete information about gun injuries and deaths. The one-time cost for this system is $240,000. (Each gun death costs US taxpayers an average of $273,904. Each nonfatal gun injury costs US taxpayers an average of $25,150.) Please consider contacting your City Council Representative and the At Large representatives urging them to vote YES on this funding request.
Right now, several organizations collect one or two pieces of information about gun violence incidents. HPD collects data on gun deaths, but does not collect data on gun injuries. Trauma Centers collect data on injuries and deaths. They also frequently collect information that victims won’t share with HPD. The Coroner’s Office collects data on deaths. A system that collects data from all the sources would be used by the Houston Health Department and HPD to develop strategies for reducing gun injuries and death in the Houston area.
Previous data indicates that many suicides are adolescents in West Houston. With real time data including zip codes, the Houston Health Department can develop suicide prevention strategies for public and private schools in that area. HPD is aware that many shootings happen in parking lots. With this data integration system, HPD will know which parking lots, so they can add additional lighting or other preventive measures.
Grant funding is very likely to be successful once this system is in place. Grant funding is not available for creating the Firearm Injury Data Integration System. This program is developed by Dr. Loren Hopkins, PhD, Chief Environmental Science Officer, Houston Health Department and
Dr. Bindi Naik, MD, MPH, Chief of Pediatric Surgery and Trauma, UTMB. Council Member Abbie Kamin is leading the effort to gain funding.
The proposal is attached to this article as a PowerPoint presentation.