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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 5 P.M. EDT BJS THURSDAY APRIL 11, 1996 202/307-0784 ONE-QUARTER OF THE CRIME VICTIMS WHO ARE SHOT ARE YOUNG BLACK MALES WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A federal study of non- fatal firearm injuries from crime shows that almost 90 percent of such victims were male, 59 percent were black and 49 percent were from 15 to 24 years old, the Department of Justice announced today. While black males comprised the majority of intentional gunshot wound victims, most of the victims of unintentional firearm injuries and suicide attempts were white, according to data collected for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From June 1, 1992, through May 31, 1993, an estimated 57,500 people were treated at hospital emergency departments for non-fatal firearms attacks. They accounted for 58 percent of all gun injuries the departments treated. The hospitals described about 12 percent as drive-by shootings. During 1994, offenders used guns in approximately 29 percent of the rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults counted in the Department's National Crime Victimization Survey. From 1987 through 1992, about 3 percent of the victims of serious violent crimes involving firearms were shot--about 60 percent by strangers, 25 percent by acquaintances and 6 percent by relatives or intimates. The attacker was unknown in 8 percent of the cases. During 1993, about 1,400 police officers were injured in firearm assaults, while 67 were killed by a firearm while responding to a crime, according to data collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The number of firearm injuries to police officers declined from a high of 3.6 per 1,000 officers in 1980-81, but began climbing after 1987. The 1993 rate was 3.2 per 1,000 officers. Among all murder victims killed with guns from June 1, 1992, through May 31, 1993, 82 percent were killed with handguns. Twenty-nine percent of murdered firearms victims were killed during an argument, 21 percent during the commission of another crime (11 percent during robberies and 7 percent during a drug offense) and 6 percent were juvenile gang killings. Forty-four percent of firearm murder victims knew their killers. In 24 percent of the killings the offender and the victims were friends or acquaintances, in 13 percent the killer was a relative or intimate of the victim and in 7 percent the victim otherwise knew the killer. The killer was a stranger in 15 percent of the murders. The relationship was unknown in 40 percent of the homicides. The Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) analyzed data from a variety of different sources, including BJS's crime survey and the Survey of Prison Inmates, for the report on firearm injuries. Included was data from the Firearm Injury Surveillance Study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which provided the first national estimates of firearm injury. The BJS report also compares data on firearm assault injury with firearm homicide data for the same period from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Supplementary Homicide Reports, which are collected from local law enforcement agencies. The report, "Firearm Injury from Crime," (NCJ-160093), was written by BJS statistician Marianne W. Zawitz. It is available on the Internet at BJS's home page address: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/ Single printed copies may be obtained from the BJS Clearinghouse, Box 179, Annapolis Junction, Maryland 20701-0179. The telephone number is 1-800-732-3277. Fax orders to 410-792- 4358. Data from tables and graphs used in many BJS reports can be obtained in spreadsheet files on 5 1/4 and 3 1/2 inch diskettes by calling 202/616-3283. # # # After hours contact: Stu Smith at 301/983-9354 END OF FILE