National Violent Death Reporting System
The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) can help provide states and communities with a clearer understanding of violent deaths so we can prevent them.
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. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is committed to preventing violent deaths in the U.S.
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 child maltreatment (or child abuse) fatalities, intimate partner homicides, other homicides, 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.
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 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;
- Police reports; and
- Crime laboratories.
As NVDRS data become available, state and local violence prevention practitioners use it to guide prevention programs, policies, and practices. To answer the questions surrounding violent deaths, NVDRS:
- Links records to describe in detail the circumstances that may contribute to a violent death;
- Identifies violent deaths occurring in the same incident to help describe the circumstances of multiple homicides or homicide–suicides;
- Provides timely preliminary information on violent deaths, including cause or mechanism; and
- Characterizes the relationship of the victim to suspect.
- NVDRS Fact Sheet [PDF 378 KB]
- Overview: Linking Data to Saving Lives [PDF 661KB]
- NVDRS Timeline [PDF 3MB]
- NVDRS Data Online
- Practice Questions
- Frequently Asked Questions
- State Profiles
- Data Collection and Access
- Training and Technical Assistance
- Restricted Access Database
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