Gun-related deaths in Miami-Dade County among those 17 and younger more than doubled in 2002 from 2001, paralleling a national increase, the Miami Herald says.
Last year, there were 14 such deaths, according to Jackson Memorial Hospital and the University of Miami. Nine were homicides, four were suicides and one was an accident. In 2001, there were six such deaths — three homicides, one suicide and two accidents.
The death rate is relatively low compared to 1995, when there were 37 youth gun-related deaths in Miami-Dade. This year, there have been 9 such deaths in nine months.
Law enforcement officials and crime prevention experts attribute the increase to a troubled economy and funding cuts in crime prevention programs. “The economy of the county contributes to households doing poorly,” said Wayne Rawlins, a consultant who has worked with county crime prevention programs. “It creates challenges for the families and the children.”
Nationally, the FBI says there there were 1,482 gun-related homicides of people under 18 in 1995. By 2001, that figure had dropped to 612. Last year, it rose to 661.