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Proposed Data Collections Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations

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In compliance with the requirement of section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 for opportunity for public comment on proposed data collection projects, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will publish periodic summaries of proposed projects. To request more information on the proposed projects or to obtain a copy of the data collection plans and instruments, call the CDC Reports Clearance Officer on (404) 498-1210.

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Send comments to Seleda Perryman, CDC Assistant Reports Clearance Officer, 1600 Clifton Road, MS-D24, Atlanta, GA 30333. Written comments should be received within 60 days of this notice.

Proposed Project: The National Violent Death Reporting System—New—National Center for Injury prevention and Control (NCIPC), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Violence is an important public health problem. In the United States, homicide and suicide are the second Start Printed Page 14243and third leading causes of death, respectively, in the 1-34 year old age group. Unfortunately, public health agencies don't know much more about the problem than the numbers and the sex, race, and age of the victims, all information obtainable from the standard death certificate. Death certificates, however, carry no information about key facts necessary for prevention such as the relationship of the victim and suspect and the circumstances of the deaths, thereby making it impossible to discern anything but the gross contours of the problem. Furthermore, death certificates are typically available 20 months after the completion of a single calendar year. Official publications of national violent death rates, e.g. those in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, rarely use data that is less than two years old. Public health interventions aimed at a moving target last seen two years ago may well miss the mark.

Local and Federal criminal justice agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) provide slightly more information about homicides, but they do not routinely collect standardized data about suicides, which are in fact much more common than homicides. The FBI's Supplemental Homicide Report system (SHRs) does collect basic information about the victim-suspect relationship and circumstances, like death certificates, it does not link violent deaths that are part of one incident such as homicide-suicides. It also is a voluntary system in which some 10-20 percent of police departments nationwide do not participate. The FBI's National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) addresses some of these deficiencies, but it covers less of the country than SHRs, still includes only homicides, and collects only police information. Also, the Bureau of Justice Statistics Reports do not use data that is less than two years old.

CDC therefore proposes to start a state-based surveillance systems for violent deaths that will provide more detailed and timely information. It will tap into the case records held by medical examiners/coroners, police, and crime labs. Data will be collected centrally by each state in the system, stripped of identifiers, and then sent to the CDC. Information will be collected from these records about the characteristics of the victims and suspects, the circumstances of the deaths, and the weapons involved. States will use standardized data elements and software designed by CDC. Ultimately, this information will guide states in designing programs that reduce multiple forms of violence.

Neither victim families nor suspects are contacted to collect this information. It all comes from existing records and is collected by state health department staff or their subcontractors. Health departments incur an average of 2.5 hours per death in identifying the deaths from death certificates, contacting the police and medical examiners to get copies of or to view the relevant records, abstracting all the records, various data processing tasks, various administrative tasks, data utilization, training, communications, etc.

The number of state health departments to be funded may be as high as 14 once FY03 cooperative agreements are awarded. Six states were funded thru FY02 cooperative agreements, and up to 8 more may be funded in 2003. NCIPC hopes to eventually fund all 50 states. Violent deaths include all homicides, suicides, legal interventions, deaths from undetermined causes, and unintentional firearm deaths. There are 50,000 such deaths annually among U.S. residents, so the average state will experience approximately 1,000 such deaths each year.

RespondentsNumber of respondentsNumber of responses/respondentAverage burden/response (in hours)Total burden (in hours)
State Health Departments141,000150/6035,000
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Dated: March 13, 2003.

Thomas Bartenfeld,

Acting Associate Director for Policy, Planning and Evaluation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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[FR Doc. 03-6871 Filed 3-21-03; 8:45 am]