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Definitions
Violent Death Module

Definitions provided by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Division of Public Health, Injury Prevention Program.

Amphetamine:
Drug that stimulates the central nervous system (i.e., speed).
Blunt instrument:
A mechanism of death resulting from being struck or crushed by blunt instruments such as a club or bat.
Caliber:
The approximate diameter of a handgun or rifle bore measured from groove to groove. Small caliber is less than or equal to 8mm or .32 inch; medium caliber is greater than 8mm or .32 inch to less than 10 mm or .40 inch; large caliber is equal to or greater than 10 mm or .40 inch. Caliber determinations were made from the firearm, bullet, or casing.
Cause/Mechanism of injury:
The cause, or mechanism of injury, is the way in which the person sustained the injury; how the person was injured; or the process by which the injury occurred.
Cleared case:
A police case "clears" when an offender is arrested, there is a determination of self-defense, the offender dies, etc.
County of Injury vs. County of Residence:
County of injury refers to the county where the victim was injured, and county of residence refers to the county where the victim lives. All cases included in the module reflect deaths that occurred in Wisconsin.
Drowning:
A mechanism of death resulting from submersion in water or other liquid.
Fall:
A mechanism of death resulting from a fall, push or jump from a high place.
Firearm:
A device that launches a projectile through a tube using energy from a spark or flame to ignite a powder charge. Definition includes handguns, rifles, and shotguns, and excludes BB guns, pellet guns or air rifles.
Firearm injury:
Any penetrating injury or wound caused by the firing of a firearm.
Handgun:
Hand-held firearm (i.e., revolver or pistol).
Homicide:
Death resulting from the intentional use of force or power, threatened or actual, against another person, group, or community.
Legal intervention:
A death when the decedent was killed by a police officer or other peace officer (persons with specified legal authority to use deadly force), including military police, acting in the line of duty.
Mortality Rate:
The mortality rate is calculated by dividing the number of deaths per year by the population. It is usually expressed as the number of deaths per 100,000 population. The rate may refer to deaths in a specific group, or to deaths from a specific cause, or to all deaths in the entire population. The rate may be adjusted for the age composition of the group or it may be the observed (or "crude") rate.
Motor vehicle:
Deaths involving any motorized vehicle.
Non-firearm injury:
An injury or wound from a weapon other than a firearm. Non-firearm injuries may include, but are not limited to: stabbings, beatings, poisonings or overdoses, hangings or strangulations, falls from height, explosions, or drownings.
Opiate:
Analgesic, or pain-relieving drug, sometimes referred to as a narcotic (e.g., codeine, morphine, or oxycodone).
Personal Weapons:
Personal weapons include fists, feet, and hands.
Rate:
The number of people experiencing an event, such as death, disease or injury, divided by the number of people at risk for the event, for some specified period of time. Rates are often expressed in terms of a unit of population (usually per 100,000).
Rates by Race/Ethnicity:
The population estimates used as denominators for the mortality rates in WISH are based on the bridged race estimates provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The estimates have been controlled so they sum to the annual estimates published by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Office of Health Informatics.
Producing the bridged race estimates was necessary because race categories in Census 2000 differed from those used in previous years. Specifically, data on race from Census 2000 were not directly comparable to data from previous years due, in large part, to giving respondents the option to report more than one race.
As a result, NCHS and the Census Bureau produced bridged race estimates that allow calculation of rates by race/ethnicity across years. These estimates distribute (or "bridge") the "more than one race" and "some other race" populations into one of four major race groups (American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Black, and White) and two ethnicity groups (Hispanic/Latino, non-Hispanic/Latino).
NCHS and the Census Bureau have produced this set of bridged race estimates extending back to the 1990 Census, and plan to produce these estimates on an annual basis in the future. WISH will be updated each year as these estimates become available.
Reliability of rates:
Some rates in this report are based on small number of deaths (<20). Chance variation is a common problem when the numbers being used to calculate rates are extremely small. From year to year, large swings can occur in these rates, which do not reflect real changes. Rates based on small numbers (<20) may be unstable due to random chance factors, and should be used with caution.
Sharp instrument:
A mechanism of death resulting from a cut and/or piercing from instruments such as knives, razors, chisels, or broken glass.
Suffocation:
A mechanism of death resulting from suffocation such as hanging, strangulation.
Suicide:
A death resulting from the intentional use of force against oneself.
Suspect:
Person(s) identified in law enforcement records as having a potential role in the commission of a homicide or an unintentional or of undetermined intent firearm-related death.
Undetermined manner of death:
Information available to investigating authorities is insufficient to determine the manner of death.
Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR):
A federal "aggregate crime reporting system used to assess the nature and type of crime in the nation." UCR collects information from voluntary reporting of eight “index crimes.” The Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance in the Department of Justice operates the state-based UCR system.
Unintentional firearm Injury:
An injury by firearm that is deemed to have occurred without criminal negligence, recklessness or other intent to harm.
Victim:
Person(s) fatally injured during a homicide, a suicide, an unintentional firearm incident, or a firearm incident of undetermined intent.
Violent death/injury:
Suicide (taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally), homicide (the killing of one person by another which may or may not be intentional, reckless or negligent), deaths of undetermined intent, deaths resulting from legal intervention, and deaths related to unintentional firearm injuries. (List of ICD-10 codes)
Weapon type:
The weapon type indicates the broad category of weapon or means used to inflict the injury.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services Public Health Regions:
(These regions include the following counties. Regional titles are BOLD CAPPED. Urban counties are bold italic.)
WESTERN
Barron, Buffalo, Burnett, Chippewa, Clark, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Rusk, St. Croix, Trempealeau, and Washburn.
SOUTHERN
Adams, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Juneau, Lafayette, Richland, Vernon, Rock, and Sauk.
SOUTHEASTERN
Jefferson, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington, and Waukesha.
NORTHEASTERN
Brown, Calumet, Door, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Sheboygan, Waupaca, Waushara, and Winnebago.
NORTHERN
Ashland, Bayfield, Florence, Forest, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida, Price, Portage, Sawyer, Taylor, Vilas, and Wood.

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Last Revised:  March 09, 2011