THURSDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Large metropolitan areas suffer about two-thirds of all firearm homicides in the United States, with inner cities most affected, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The central cities really bear the burden of firearm homicides," said Linda L. Dahlberg, the associate director for science in CDC's Division of Violence Prevention, noting that the gun murder rate was highest among male children and teens.
These findings "speak to the importance of addressing youth if we really want to do something about the gun violence problem," Dahlberg said.
According to the CDC, 25,423 murders by gunfire took place in the United States in 2006 through 2007 -- the years of the most recent available statistics.
Among these deaths, the rate of firearm homicides was higher in inner cities than in other parts of cities and higher than the murder rate of the country as a whole, Dahlberg said. People living in 50 of the largest cities, in fact, accounted for 67 percent of all firearm homicides.
In addition, children and teens aged 10 to 19 in these areas -- more than 85 percent of them male -- accounted for 73 percent of all firearm homicides, Dahlberg noted.
In the United States, "gun violence escalated in the late 1980s and 1990s, fueled in part by the crack cocaine epidemic," Dahlberg said. "Even though the rates have declined since 1994, the proportion of youth homicides that are committed with firearms has remained consistently high."
To reduce the carnage, the country needs to teach young people ways to resolve conflicts without violence, according to the CDC.
The findings were published in the May 13 issue of CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
For the study, researchers used data from the National Vital Statistics System and the U.S. Census Bureau to
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