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Federal Aid Given to Boost Fight Against Violent Deaths

Indiana’s violent death rate, which includes homicides and suicides, is over 22 percent, higher than the national average. But a new federal grant could help the state combat that number.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is granting Indiana $1.4 million to analyze the factors behind the state’s violent death rate.

The director for the Indiana’s trauma and injury prevention division, Katie Hokanson, says this is the first time the Hoosier State has received resources to investigate violent deaths.

“In every corner of the state are different needs and I really hope we are able to focus on where we need to target our prevention for the local communities,” Hokanson says.

The money is funding an online recording system that links data from death certificates, coroners’ reports and law enforcement records.

Associate Director of the American College of Preventive Medicine Paul Bonta says the grant won’t fund prevention efforts but could lead to specialized efforts.

“It actually takes a few years of data collection before a state can really capitalize and utilize that data to inform its programs,” Bonta says.

This first year of using the violent death reporting system, state officials will look at six Indiana counties including Marion, Lake and St. Joseph counties and gather data on violent deaths among children.