Grays Harbor Suicide and Homicidal Deaths On The Rise
There were 22 Accidental deaths in 2012. This is one less than the prior 5 years average (2007 – 2011) of 23 accidental deaths per year. Of the 22 accidental deaths, 14 were due to alcohol and/or drug intoxication.
There were 7 Traffic deaths within our jurisdiction in 2012. Technically these are accidental deaths, but are reported separately. Of significance, 6 of the 7 traffic deaths, or 86% had alcohol or drugs present in their system at the time of their death. As a comparison, over the past 8 years about 2 out of 3, or 66 % had alcohol or drugs in their system at the time of their death. This comparison applies to all traffic related deaths regardless of whether they were the driver, a passenger or a pedestrian.
We had a very dramatic increase in suicide deaths in 2012. There were 20 Suicides for the year. This is almost twice the number of the prior 5 year average (2007 – 2011) of 10.2 deaths per year. The last time we had 20 suicides in a year was in 1997. Generally speaking we have been seeing an overall decline in suicide deaths the past 15 years. As a comparison in the 5 year period from 1997 – 2001 we averaged 14.8 suicide deaths per year. In the years 2002 – 2006 we averaged 12 suicide deaths per year.
Finally we had 5 Homicide deaths in 2012. This is even more of a dramatic increase over the prior 5 year average (2007 – 2011) of 1.4 homicide deaths per year. The last year we had 5 homicides was in 2002 and prior to that in 2000. Our homicide rate on average had been decreasing the past 15 years. As a comparison we averaged 3.6 deaths per year from 1997- 2001 and 2.0 deaths per year from 2002 -2006. This large number of homicides in 2012 will impact our yearly average homicide rate for at least a few more years.