suicide magnet
n. A location such as a bridge or tower where a high number of suicides occur.

Example Citation:
Golden Gate designer Joseph Strauss declared in 1936 that his creation was 'practically suicide proof.' But Mr. Strauss envisioned guard rails nearly 6 feet high. The actual fence measures only 3 feet, 6 inches....Other structures that were suicide magnets, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building, have made jumping an impossibility by putting up barriers.
—Doug J. Swanson, "Suicide patrol working to stop Golden Gate jumpers," The Dallas Morning News, June 9, 1996

Earliest Citation:
California is also home to the most powerful suicide magnet in the Western world, the Golden Gate Bridge; more than 900 people have leapt to their deaths since the bridge opened. The symbolic power of the Golden Gate is a strong draw, located about as far West as one can go, in a city Jack Kerouac once described as possessing an "end-of-land sadness." Aesthetics also seems to play a role in Golden Gate suicides. Five times as many people have committed suicide from the Golden Gate as from the comparatively frumpy Oakland Bay Bridge several miles to the east. Even allowing for the Golden Gate's easier pedestrian access, it's clear that many bridge jumpers feel compelled to infuse their deaths with a meaning they could never give to their lives.
—Tom McNichol, "Choosing death," Los Angeles Times, October 13, 1991

Notes:
Here's an earlier citation that has a slightly different meaning:

Seven times in the past four years people have made their way down rural, wooded Chebacco Road and tried to kill themselves. Six of those persons died. ...

The lure of the lonely, about 3-mile long road as a place for suicide hasn't surprised Police Chief Walter Cullen, who has seen too many of them. ...

"It's a back road but it's getting built up now," he added. "There are a lot more houses. It's just a back country dirt road. There's no suicide magnet over there."
—Andy Dabilis, "In Hamilton, a lonely rural road has history of suicide attempts," The Boston Globe, March 10, 1991

Related Words:

Category: