SANTA ANA, Ca. (February 25, 2019) – The Orange County Sheriff’s Department Coroner Division publicly released two reports today concerning reported deaths of individuals experiencing homelessness in Orange County in 2018.
The OCSD Coroner Division is responsible for investigating deaths that occur within the county of Orange. This includes unnatural deaths such as homicides, suicides, accidents and/or suspicious or unexplained deaths. In Orange County in 2018, there were 5,858 deaths reported to the Coroner Division. Of those, 210 decedents were considered homeless as they had “no fixed abode” at the time of death.
The first report, titled “Coroner Division Homeless Mortality Report,” provides data categorized by the cause of death and the geographic location of where the death occurred. The information is provided for each calendar year 2014 to present, in addition to statistical graphs by mode of death. The Coroner Division has been working to compile this data since January 2019 to study these cases and identify changing patterns important to public health and safety.
The second report was prepared pursuant to a request from the Honorable David O. Carter, Judge in the United States District Court to provide the causes of death of homeless individuals who passed away in 2018 and 2019. The report lists the 210 decedents from 2018, and 25 reported deaths from Jan. 1 to Feb. 19, 2019.
2018 data shows that of the 210 homeless decedents, 75 individuals died of natural causes, with overdose as the second highest cause of death claiming the lives of 44. Thirty-two are still pending an official cause of death awaiting toxicology results.
“Examining this data allows us to observe causal factors that might assist in preventing the deaths of individuals experiencing homelessness,” said Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Don Barnes. “As a member of the Commission to End Homelessness, I will be presenting this data to the commission for further discussion and action aimed at reducing the number of deaths of homeless individuals.”