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Survey: Rate of Violent Crime Increased in U.S. Hospitals Last Year

Healthcare facility violent crime rate went up 25% while the rate of disorderly conduct increased 40%.

The rate of violent crime, assaults and disorderly conduct incidents at U.S. hospitals in 2013 was significantly higher compared to the previous year, according to research released by the IHSS Foundation at the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS) 46th Annual General Membership meeting held May 18-21 in San Diego.

The violent crime rate per 100 U.S. hospital beds rose 25%, from 2.0 incidents in 2012 to 2.5 incidents last year, while the assault rate increased from 10.7 to 11.1. The rate of disorderly conduct incidents experienced the biggest jump, from 28 per 100 hospital beds in 2012 to 39.2 (40%) last year.

Although American hospitals saw increases in these categories, the Canadian healthcare violent crime rate remained steady last year, at .1. The assault rate rose slightly from .5 to .6. Additionally, the rate of disorderly conduct incidents per 100 beds decreased by more than 40%. Canada also experienced a significant decrease in the rate of thefts, from 7.3 per 100 beds in 2012 to 3.4 in 2013, while the United States’ rate rose from 7.7 to 7.8. (It should be noted that 338 U.S. hospitals participated in the study while only 47 Canadian hospitals took the survey.)

The U.S. hospital burglary rate remained the same at 5.5, as did the motor vehicle theft rate at .24. The vandalism rate rose slightly from 2.2 to 2.3.

In Canada, the hospital burglary rate per 100 beds rose slightly from .8 in 2012 to .9 last year. The rate of motor vehicle thefts actually decreased from .1 to 0, while the vandalism rate rose from 1.7 to 1.9.

The vast majority of workplace violence incidents that occurred (75% of aggravated assaults and 93% of assaults) were classified as type 2: “Violence directed at employees by customers, clients, patients, students, inmates or any others for whom an organization provides services.” Fifteen percent of aggravated assaults were committed by “criminals who have no other connection with the workplace, but enter to commit robbery or another crime.”

In a separate IHSS Foundation study that was also released at the IAHSS conference, 89% of the hospitals surveyed had at least one event of workplace violence in the previous 12 months. The perpetrator was often a patient (75%) or visitor (9%), and most incidents involved a threat/verbal abuse (41%) or physical assault (29%). If the incident involved a physical injury, the injured victim was almost always a security worker or non-security hospital staff member, and not the perpetrator. A weapon was used in only 4% of the incidents, and 7% resulted in legal action. Less than 1% resulted in regulatory follow-up.

Read the full report.

About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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