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'I've never seen the suffering' | Nearly 500 homeless people have died so far in San Diego County this year alone

The number only reflects those who were examined by the Medical Examiner's Officer. The number is likely much higher.

Dorian Hargrove

Published: 4:42 PM PST November 10, 2022
Updated: 6:22 PM PST November 10, 2022

Nearly 500 people living on the streets and in vehicles in San Diego County died so far this year and were examined by the Medical Examiner's Office. 

According to data obtained by CBS 8, the county has averaged approximately 45 deaths per month since January of this year.

It is only a small percentage of the actual number. The San Diego County Medical Examiner says the 499 deaths this year are those where the deceased person's housing status was made known to the office. In addition, the office says it only investigates 14 percent of all deaths countywide, and only those that result from an injury, accident, or trauma.

It does not, according to a spokesperson, include "any persons experiencing homelessness that may have died of natural causes in hospitals or under other circumstances in which a community physician was able to complete a death certificate" or was sealed for a police investigation.

Credit: Amie Zamudio

And while the Medical Examiners say the number of deaths of those living on the streets and in their vehicles represents only a fraction of the total number, the number is staggering. 

According to the data, a vast majority of deaths occurred, as would be expected due to population size, in the city of San Diego, followed by Oceanside, Chula Vista, El Cajon, and Escondido.

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