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National Violent Death Reporting System

The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) provides states and communities with a clearer understanding of violent deaths to guide local decisions about efforts to prevent violence and helps them track progress over time.

Tragically, more than 38,000 people died by suicide in the United States in 2010.1 Homicide claimed another 16,000 people. We know these numbers can be lowered since violence is preventable.

Surveillance Data from 18 States

To stop violent deaths, we must first understand all the facts. Created in 2002, the NVDRS is a surveillance system that pulls together data on violent deaths in 18 states (see map below), including information about homicides, such as homicides perpetrated by a intimate partner (e.g., boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband), child maltreatment (or child abuse) fatalities, suicides, deaths where individuals are killed by law enforcement in the line of duty, unintentional firearm injury deaths, and deaths of undetermined intent.

NVDRS data help to:

  • Inform decision makers and program planners about the magnitude, trends, and characteristics of violent deaths in their state or community so appropriate prevention efforts can be identified and implemented;
  • Facilitate the evaluation of state-based prevention programs and strategies.

A national system will allow CDC to provide information for every state to inform their prevention efforts. It will also ensure we have enhanced information on the national scope of the problem of violent deaths to monitor and track trends and to inform national efforts. 

USA map showing 18 States: Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin

Linking Data to Save Lives

Linking information about the "who, when, where and how" from data on violent deaths will provide insights about "why" they occurred. Frontline investigators, including homicide detectives, coroners, crime lab investigators and medical examiners, collect valuable information about violent deaths. But these data are often not combined in a systematic manner to provide a complete picture.

NVDRS collects facts from four major sources about the same incident, and pools information into a usable, anonymous database. An incident can include one victim or multiple victims. The four major data sources are:

  • Death certificates;
  • Coroner/medical examiner reports;
  • Law enforcement reports; and
  • Crime laboratories.

The facts that are collected about violent deaths include:

  • Circumstances related to suicide such as depression and major life stresses like relationship or financial problems;
  • The relationship between the perpetrator and the victim – for example, if they know each other;
  • Other crimes, such as robbery, committed along with homicide;
  • Multiple homicides, or homicide followed by suicide.

As NVDRS data become available, state and local violence prevention practitioners use it to guide prevention programs, policies, and practices.



NVDRS Online Database

NVDRS Information

NVDRS Web Content

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  • Page last reviewed: December 24, 2013
  • Page last updated: December 24, 2013 The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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