KODIAK — A new report from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services shows Kodiak Island trails much of the state in deaths caused by violence.

According to the report, the Gulf Coast region, which includes Kodiak, the Kenai Peninsula and the Prince William Sound region, registered 31.9 violent deaths per 100,000 people from 2003 to 2008, the most recent figures available.

Though fewer than 100,000 people live in the area, that figure was used as a baseline to compare its rate to other areas of the state that contain more than that total.

The Gulf Coast tally was the second-lowest found in the study, ahead of only the Anchorage/Mat-Su region, which recorded 28.2 violent deaths per 100,000 people. Northern Alaska, which includes the North Slope and Seward Peninsula, had the most violent deaths, with 84.3 per 100,000 people.

That was followed by Southwest Alaska (66.6), Southeast (45.0), Interior (32.9) and the Gulf Coast. The state average was 33.7.

The data was collected from the Alaska Violent Death Reporting System, which collects information about violent deaths from death certificates, law enforcement records and other sources.

The system was established in 2003 and is primarily used by public health providers.

Suicide was by far the most common violent death recorded in the report. Of the 1,347 violent deaths in Alaska from Jan. 1, 2003, to Dec. 31, 2008, 64.5 percent were suicide, compared to 18.1 percent homicide.

Kodiak suicide figures mirror those of violent death in general, with some exceptions.

The Gulf Coast region was No. 4 among the six Alaska regions, registering 19.5 suicides per 100,000 people. That was more than Southeast, which recorded 16.3 despite having a higher overall violent death rate.

Northern Alaska had the highest death rate (62.5), followed by Southwest (45.1), Interior (20.5) Gulf Coast, Anchorage/Mat-Su (18.2) and Southeast.

Statewide, suicide was the fourth-leading cause of death among Alaska Natives.

The full text of the report is available at http://bit.ly/AKviolent.

Contact the Kodiak Daily Mirror newsroom at editor@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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