Four hundred and forty. That’s the number of potential years of life lost in Peoria County last year to homicides.
That startling statistic comes from Peoria County’s 2018 Mortality Report.
“I think what we saw this year that was kind of striking this year in 2018 was the increase in death due to homicide," said Monica Hendrickson, administrator of the Peoria City/County Health Department.
2018 saw a 62.5 percent spike in the number of homicides compared to the previous year. Twenty-four deaths in Peoria County were homicides last year. Nearly 80 percent of the deaths were connected to gun violence.
Homicide deaths among people aged 15 to 24 doubled, and black residents saw 17 homicide deaths, compared to 6 among whites. Notably, homicide was the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24, and the second-leading cause of death for people aged 25-44 after overdoses.
Overdoses, homicides and accidents were lumped together into one category before 2017, when the health department split them apart to put a brighter spotlight on a spike in overdose deaths. Homicides were also the leading cause of death for the 15-24 age group in 2017.
Heart disease and cancer were the overall leading causes of death in Peoria County last year.