RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — As part of 10 On Your Side’s commitment to taking back the community, we have been tracking gun violence in Hampton Roads neighborhoods; now the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is doing the same.
VDH launched a new dashboard Thursday that breaks down firearm injuries in Virginia. The data shows emergency department (ED) visits from 2016 to date, utilizing several demographics.
“The beat of the ER data that we have is that it’s in real time, so we’re able to see what’s going on pretty quickly,” said Lauren Yerkes, MPH, CPH, an epidemiologist who worked on the dashboard.
“The goal is first to really push that data out of the public for folks to see how the firearm injuries impact their communities,” Yerkes add.
10 On Your Side went through some of the data and discovered injuries involving firearms jumped 72% over three years in Virginia, mostly among young Black men.
“I think some of these kids think it’s a badge of honor to be shot and walk out of the hospital, which is a little scary,” said Dr. Jay Collins, a trauma surgeon with EVMS.
Collins says many of the gunshot victims he treats had previously survived at least one other shooting.
“I’ve had a couple of these young men tell me that have been shot that they don’t expect to live past 25, and to me, that’s shocks me, it disappoints me,” Collins said.
“There’s this mindset that this is normal, it’s expected. It’s dangerous out there,” he said.
The data shows firearm injury ED visits from Virginia residents and out-of-state visitors.
The dashboard allows visitors to search data by all available years and by health districts. You can also filter the data by ED visit counts or rates per 10,000 ED visits.
Click here to view the dashboard. The dashboard is updated by the 15th of each month. VDH is interested in your feedback and is conducting an anonymous survey.
10 On Your side’s investigative team is taking a deeper dive into the numbers to help understand our community health. Look for that extended coverage Friday on WAVY News 10 on-air and online.