As we recognize National Gun Violence Awareness Month in June, it’s important for us to reflect upon the data that captures information on the incidences of gun violence in the York community. In 2022, the York County coroner, Pamela Gay, reported on the effects of gun violence in York County, with data on homicides and suicides from gunshot wounds. A total of 59 York County residents died as a result of gun violence during the year, indicating the gun violence is a critical, dangerous issue affecting the health of our community. Below is some data that shows the prevalence of gun violence in York County.
Gunshot wounds resulted in the homicides of 23 York County residents in 2023. Of these, 3 victims were female and 20 were male. The majority of the homicides, 19, occurred in York City; however, homicides also occurred in Shrewsbury, Hanover, Red Lion, and West Manchester Township. The ages of the victims ranged from 17 to 66 years old, with about half of the victims being under the age of 30 years old. In April, four homicides occurred over a two-day period (April 13-14), while there were no homicides reported in the months of October through November.
Gun violence resulting in suicide in York County outpaced homicides with a total of 36 in 2022. Similarly to the homicide rates, suicides affected 3 female victims in the County, while the remaining 33 were male. Compared to the homicides detailed above, suicides represented a much broader geographic diversity of York County, with suicides being reported from Brogue to York Haven and many communities in between. Geographically, 11 of the suicides occurred in York City, while the remaining 25 were outside the city. Outside of York City, the locations reporting three or more suicides over the past year included Dover, Red Lion, and Thomasville. The ages of the suicide victims ranged from 21 to 90 years old. Suicides occurred every month of the year, with June and September resulting in the most deaths, with five each.
The data above, while representative of lives lost in our communities, does not fully capture the effects of gun violence in York. Each of these lives lost left friends and families behind, who struggle to understand how their loved one could fall victim to gun violence. They often have difficult times processing the senselessness of the losses, and suffer both physically and mentally having been a witness or losing a friend or family member. Our providers at Family First Health have seen first-hand the effects of gun violence on our patients. More information about how our patients have been affected can be found here.