A joint investigation by The Trace/Measure of America/THE CITY mapped the 12,000-plus shootings recorded by the NYPD between 2010 and October 2018 and found that the farther away someone was from a Level I or II trauma center when they were shot, the more likely they were to die, reports The Trace.
Nowhere fared worse than neighborhoods in southern Queens, particularly those below Hillside Avenue, where more residents live farther than three miles from a trauma center than anywhere else in the city. There used to be more trauma coverage in the borough. But in February 2009, two hospitals closed, and one of them contained a Level I trauma center. In the following two years, the gunshot fatality rate in Queens jumped from under 16 percent to more than 23 percent. That put the borough’s gunshot fatality rate 30 percent higher than in the rest of the city. Since then, every year except 2016, the death rate from gunshots in Queens has been higher than in the city as a whole. Cities across the country have exhibited similar trends. Dr. Marie Crandall, a University of Florida surgery professor, identified “trauma deserts” on Chicago’s Southside in 2013 and found they were leading to more gunshot-related deaths. In 2016, Crandall also found that the closure of an urban medical center in South Los Angeles corresponded with an increase in the rate of death from gunshots. Criminologist Giovanni Circo found a similar relationship in sections of Detroit.