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Firearms Stolen During Household Burglaries and Other Property Crimes, 2005-2010

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 10:00 A.M. EDT Bureau of Justice Statistics
THURSDAY, NOVMEBER 8, 2012 Contact: Kara McCarthy (202) 307-1241
HTTP://WWW.BJS.GOV/ After hours: (202) 598-0556


WASHINGTON – About 1.4 million firearms were stolen during household burglaries and other property crimes over the six-year period from 2005 through 2010, according to a report released today by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). This number represents an estimated average of 232,400 firearms stolen each year— about 172,000 stolen during burglaries and 60,300 stolen during other property crimes.

These estimates are based on data from the annual National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) which has collected information from victims of crime since 1973. Of the guns stolen each year during burglaries and other property crimes, at least 80 percent, or an annual average of 186,800 firearms, had not been recovered up to six months after being stolen.

From 2005 through 2010, firearms were stolen in about four percent of the 2.4 million household burglaries and in less than one percent of the 13.6 million other property crimes involving a completed theft that occurred during the period. Longer trends from 1994 to 2010 show a 49 percent decline in the total number of victimizations involving the theft of at least one firearm, from about 283,600 victimizations in 1994 to about 145,300 in 2010.

Handguns were the most commonly stolen firearm from 2005 through 2010. At least one handgun was stolen in 63 percent of household burglaries and 68 percent of other property crimes involving firearm theft. More than one gun was stolen in 39 percent of burglaries and 15 percent of other property crimes involving gun theft.

Household burglaries involving stolen firearms were more likely to be reported to police (86 percent) than burglaries involving the theft of other items (62 percent) of comparable value ($500-$999). When a handgun was stolen, about 90 percent of burglaries were reported to the police.

From 2005 through 2010, household property crimes involving only stolen firearms resulted in a total loss of about $27 million per year. The average financial loss when only one gun was stolen was between $400 and $500 per incident.

Other findings showed—

  • About three out of four household property crimes involving stolen firearms occurred in households headed by white non-Hispanic persons.
  • From 2005 through 2010, the majority of household burglaries (56 percent) or other property crimes (59 percent) involving stolen firearms occurred in the South.
  • Households in rural areas experienced a disproportionate percentage of burglaries involving stolen firearms (34 percent), compared to the overall percentage of U.S. households located in rural areas (17 percent).

The report, Firearms Stolen during Household Burglaries and Other Property Crimes, 2005–2010 (NCJ 239436), was written by BJS statistician Lynn Langton. The report, related documents and additional information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ statistical publications and programs can be found on the BJS website at http://www.bjs.gov/.

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The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.



Date Published: November 8, 2012