Grays Harbor Deaths Include Less Accidental and More Suicide
Grays Harbor Coroner Dan Burns has released his annual report for 2012, and said that the accidental deaths were down, but suicides were up.
According to Burns, there were 621 deaths within the county in 2012. The majority of these were either expected or required no further investigation. In 2011, 641 deaths were recorded.
There were 22 accidental deaths in 2012, which is lower than the prior 5 year average of 23 accidental deaths per year. Of those, 14 were alcohol or drug related.
There were 7 traffic deaths within the county in 2012. 6 of the 7 traffic deaths, or 86%, involved alcohol or drugs. Over the past 8 years about 66 % had alcohol or drugs in their system at the time of their death. This applies to all traffic related deaths; driver, passenger, or pedestrian.
Burns noted that there was a very dramatic increase in suicide deaths in 2012. 20 suicides were recorded last year. This is almost twice the number of the prior 5 year average of 10.2 per year. The last time the county saw 20 suicides in a year was in 1997. Overall, Burns says that we had been seeing an overall decline in suicide deaths the past 15 years. Between 1997 – 2001, there were an average of 14.8 suicide deaths per year, compared to 2002 – 2006 when we averaged 12 suicides per year.
The most dramatic change came in homicide deaths last year. 5 homicides were seen in 2012. The previous 5 year average was 1.4 homicides per year. The homicide rate on average had been decreasing the past 15 years.