About the Data
The Massachusetts Violent Death Reporting System (MAVDRS) collects and links data on all violent deaths within the Commonwealth. It includes detailed information on homicides, suicides, legal intervention deaths, unintentional firearm deaths and deaths of undetermined intent. MAVDRS is an incident-based system and links victims and suspects associated with a given incident in one record. These data can be used to better understand the circumstances and toxicology of homicide and suicide victims by geography.
Data are for deaths occurring in Massachusetts; Massachusetts residents who died out-of-state are excluded from this analysis.
As you look at data on this webpage, you may see differences among population groups. The differences are especially noticeable between white people and people of color.
These differences exist because of structural racism. These differences are NOT because of an individual’s choices, behaviors, or identity.
Systems of oppression, such as racism, cause harm to everyone. They also influence the social determinants of health (SDoH), which impact health outcomes. See Figure 1.
It is important to keep these notes in mind when looking at the data and using it to inform public health efforts.
If you decide to share these data, remember to use racial equity context and framing. The DPH Racial Equity Data Road Map is one resource that can help.
About MAVDRS Data
The system combines information from death certificates, medical examiner records, toxicology reports, police reports and crime laboratory reports. Individually, these sources explain violence only in a narrow context; together, they provide comprehensive answers to the questions that surround violent deaths: who, what, when, where, and, in many cases, why. No other system offers this benefit.
This standardized database is part of the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) developed and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through Grant #U17/CE002606. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Circumstances are factors related to the victim and/or incident and can include information such as mental health status, substance use, and relationship problems. Circumstances provide information on possible contributing factors that may lead to a violent death. A person can have multiple circumstances reported in the data. It is also important to remember that some circumstances are more likely to be known and documented than others, and if a circumstance is not identified, that does not necessarily mean it was not present in the decedent’s life.
Data can be used to identify classes of substances for which victims tested positive. A victim can test positive for more than one substance class.
Data are analyzed by ICD-10 code.
Counts may differ from other data presented on homicides and suicides for Massachusetts.
To protect individual privacy, counts less than six have been suppressed with complementary suppression applied.