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Firearm Injury from Crime: Firearms, Crime, and Criminal Justice




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.    
        
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After hours contact:  Stu Smith at 301/983-9354

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Date Created: May 28, 2009