A data project to track gun injuries will receive city funding as trauma centers across Houston saw a steady increase in firearm injury victims in recent years, but lacked a systematic way to report the gun violence.
There is no uniform reporting for both fatal and non-fatal gun violence injuries in Houston’s trauma centers. To address the gap, the city Wednesday announced a $240,000 Health Department project to collect data from various databases and develop a dashboard to show the different types of gun incidents in Houston, why they occur and whom they affect.
Loren Hopkins, chief environmental science officer for the Houston Health Department, said the lack of comprehensive analysis of firearm data up to now has stumped the city’s progress on combating gun violence.
“We really haven’t seen improvement,” Hopkins said during a committee meeting in July. “All trauma centers in Houston have seen a huge increase in firearm injury victims since the pandemic, and this has just been steadily rising since 2018, regardless of all the efforts people have been putting into it.”
District C Councilmember Abbie Kamin, chair of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, said the goal is to help the city come up with better public health-oriented policies to deter gun violence.
“We’re home to the largest medical center in the world. It may be a surprise to some that we do not already have something like this,” Kamin said, adding her team is still working out the timeline for the project’s implementation. “Now, the city of Houston and our public health partners will finally have a centralized location to collect relevant information, analyze it, and turn it into health-based actions to reduce injuries and save lives.”
Very glad to see this, and I look forward to seeing what the data tells us. The federal government was barred for years from collecting this data, because the pro-gun fanatics wouldn’t allow it. This is a small step forward, but an important one. Kudos all around.