Taxi drivers most likely to be murdered at work, new UNC-CH research shows

June 06, 2000

CHAPEL HILL - Analysis of 15 years of on-the-job homicides in North Carolina shows taxi drivers are significantly more likely than others to be murdered at work, according to a new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study.

Workplace homicides are highest for men, older and self-employed workers and minorities, the study found. Robberies -- mostly in retail settings -- account for half the cases, while 20 percent involve disputes. Women are most likely to be killed by estranged partners.

The research, conducted at UNC-CH's School of Public Health and Injury Prevention Research Center, involved reviewing job-related killings across the state from 1977 to 1991. Detailed information, including narratives describing details of each case, came from the N.C. medical examiner's office.

A report on the findings appears in the June issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Authors are Drs. Kathryn E. Moracco, research assistant professor of health behavior and health education, and Carol W. Runyan, professor of health behavior and health education and director of the injury research center.

Others are Drs. Dana P. Loomis, associate professor of epidemiology, and John D. Butts, N.C. chief medical examiner and professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the UNC-CH School of Medicine. Research associate Susanne H. Wolf of UNC-CH and former graduate student David Napp also helped with the research.

"We believe this study is unique in that it covered such a long time period, and we used medical examiner narratives describing circumstances surrounding the homicides and relationships between perpetrators and victims," Moracco said. "That kind of rich detail is not available in previous studies using just death certificates."

By dividing cases into categories based on facts surrounding the homicides, investigators found that while many similarities existed within groups, differences among groups were substantial.

"That suggested that we're going to need different intervention strategies to help prevent different kinds of homicides and gave us some useful clues in terms of prevention," Moracco said. "In other words, one size doesn't fit all when it comes to stopping these cases."

Researchers identified 375 N.C. deaths from homicide in the workplace during the 15 years studied and, after excluding cases for various reasons, compiled a final study group of 361. That total represented 14 percent of all fatal occupational injuries and 3.6 percent of all N.C. homicides during the period. Analyses revealed that:
"Preventing violence against taxi drivers is particularly challenging," Moracco said. "Drivers tend to operate in urban areas, which have the highest crime rates, and work long hours, alone, often at night, carrying considerable amounts of cash on board, making them targets for robberies."

Requiring bulletproof partitions between front and back seats is the kind of strategy that may make a difference in protecting drivers, she said.

"Each year, between 750 and 1,000 people are killed while at work in the United States, making homicide second only to motor vehicles as a cause of occupational injury death," Moracco said. "Homicide is the leading cause of on-the-job deaths for women nationally and for all workers in at least five states and Washington, D.C."

The National Workplace Safety Initiative has estimated that violence at work costs society more than $4 billion annually, she added. That figure likely is an underestimate since it does not include the strong psychological impact on victims' families and co-workers. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supported the research.
-end-
June 6, 2000 - No. 321
By DAVID WILLIAMSON
UNC-CH News Services


Note: Moracco can be reached at 919-966-0158.
UNC-CH School of Public Health Contact: Lisa Katz, 966-7467.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Related Injury Prevention Articles from Brightsurf:

Suicide prevention in COVID-19 era
COVID-19 presents a new and urgent opportunity to focus political will, federal investments, and global community on the vital imperative of suicide prevention.

A novel approach to childhood obesity prevention
A novel taxonomic approach to obesity prevention using existing U.S.

Individualized falls prevention plan found no better than usual care for reducing injury
Media Availability: Findings reported online July 8, 2020 in the New England Journal of Medicine suggest that a nurse-managed, individually tailored falls prevention plan administered for at least 20 months did not significantly reduce risk of serious fall injuries in older adults aged 70 and over who were at high risk for falls.

STRIDE study results on fall injury prevention in older adults: PCORI Media Availability
As reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, the STRIDE Study found that a personalized approach to delivering proven falls risk reduction strategies to high-risk older adults in typical care settings resulted in an 8% to 10% reduction in serious fall injuries, but this effect was not statistically significant.

Researchers reveal target in acute kidney injury prevention
Physician-Scientists and other researchers at Rush University Medical Center, in collaboration with colleagues at other institutions, have revealed a new treatment target that may help change the outcome for patients at risk of AKI.

Towards better hand hygiene for flu prevention
Rubbing hands with ethanol-based sanitizers should provide a formidable defense against infection from flu viruses, which can thrive and spread in saliva and mucus.

Just released: Proceedings from inaugural Medical Summit on Firearm Injury Prevention
Proceedings from the first-ever Medical Summit on Firearm Injury Prevention have been released and published on the Journal of the American College of Surgeons website as an 'article in press' in advance of print publication.

Few at-risk adults getting the diabetes prevention help they need
Using data from the 2016 National Health Interview Survey, Johns Hopkins researchers report that few American adults eligible for diabetes prevention programs are being referred to, or participating in, these programs.

Prevention of alcohol use in older teens
A recently released publication in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 'Prevention of Alcohol Use in Older Teens: A Randomized Trial of an Online Family Prevention Program' reveals successful results for an online, family-based prevention program, Smart Choices 4 Teens, which is designed to reduce alcohol use among 16- and 17-year-old teens.

Ultrasound for thrombosis prevention
Researchers established real-time ultrasonic monitoring of the blood's aggregate state using the in vitro blood flow model.

Read More: Injury Prevention News and Injury Prevention Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.