Firearm Deaths on the Rise in Washtenaw County New Report Reveals


The Washtenaw County Health Department has shed light on alarming firearm death statistics in their recently released Firearm Report, spanning data from 2011-2022.

"Unfortunately, firearm deaths are increasing in Washtenaw County,” alerts Juan Marquez, MD, MPH, Washtenaw County Health Department medical director. “There was a 74% increase in firearm deaths in the two five-year time periods we analyzed (2012-2016 and 2017-2021). This report illustrates what many of our community members already know: gun violence is a serious public health issue in Washtenaw.”

Most of these deaths, a staggering 70% in the county from 2011-2022, were attributed to suicides, outpacing the state's rate of 59%. The remaining 30% in the county were categorized as homicides. Such numbers present a worrisome trend, particularly when broken down by gender and race. An overwhelming 89% of firearm deaths involved men, aligning with similar trends statewide.

Furthermore, suicides by firearm increased by 44% from 2012-2016 to 2017-2021, with most victims being white individuals, accounting for 84% of cases, and only 10% were Black/African American individuals.

“We saw a 200% increase in the number of people who died from firearm homicide in Washtenaw," notes Dr. Marquez. “Firearm homicide deaths among residents in Ypsilanti zip codes 48197 and 48198 were higher compared to Washtenaw residents in other zip codes. There were also significant racial disparities in our local firearm homicides: 77% of victims were Black/African American, while only 19% were white.”

The age statistics further complicate the narrative. The average age for firearm-related deaths stood at 42. Homicide victims were notably younger, averaging 29 years, in contrast to suicide victims, whose average age was 48. The data showed no firearm homicide victims over 53 during this period.

A call to action resonates in the words of Jimena Loveluck, MSW, Washtenaw County Health Department health officer. “It is important to develop and support community-wide violence prevention strategies,” says Loveluck. “These local data affirm the importance of collective action to interrupt violence and save lives.”

The full report can be accessed here or downloaded at the link at the end of this article.

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Additional data is available in the full report:

Suicide Prevention: A Pressing Concern

While suicide is preventable, recognizing its signs remains crucial. Washtenaw County residents are urged to contact the Community Mental Health CARES team 24/7 for mental health concerns at 734-544-3050. For immediate threats, dial 911.

Warning signs include expressions of hopelessness, seeking methods for suicide, increased substance use, erratic behaviors, sleep disturbances, feelings of isolation, extreme emotional fluctuations, and discussions of revenge. WCHD stresses that it is essential to engage if someone displays these signs proactively.

In a statement, WCHD says, “If someone you know shows warning signs of suicide, assume you are the only one who will reach out. Take them seriously, talk to them in private, and ask directly if they are thinking about suicide. See more recommendations on what to do if someone is at risk for suicide at

Images from WCHD August 2023 Firearm Death Report

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