Millions in United States May Hear Gunshots at Night

Inverse relationship seen between number of nighttime gunshots and median household income
Millions in United States May Hear Gunshots at Night
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Medically Reviewed By:
Meeta Shah, M.D.

TUESDAY, April 9, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- The sound of nighttime gunshots potentially impacts millions of people in U.S. cities, according to a study published online April 2 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Rebecca Robbins, Ph.D., from Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues estimated the number of people potentially affected by nighttime gunshots and the relationship between nighttime gunshots and U.S. median household income. The analysis included publicly available data on the timing and location of gunshots (72,236 gunshots) in six U.S. cities (Baltimore, Boston, Washington, D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, and Portland) from 2015 to 2021.

The researchers found that gunshots were more common during the nighttime than daytime (overall rate ratio, 2.5). The low estimates for the mean annual number of person-nights impacted by nighttime gunshots were 0.4 million in Baltimore and Portland, 1.3 million in Philadelphia, 1.6 million in Boston, 2.9 million in New York City, and 5.9 million in Washington, D.C. There was an inverse relationship between the number of nighttime gunshots and median household income.

"A nighttime gunshot likely disrupts the sleep of nearby community residents due to the sheer sound of the shot, which is then followed by a cacophony of sirens from police vehicles and ambulances," Robbins said in a statement. "The findings from our study shed light on this potentially significant and underexplored social determinant of sleep and population health."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to relevant organizations.

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