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Handgun Crime Victims

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 1990
Offenders armed with handguns committed 639,000 violent crimes each year between 1979 and 1987, killing 9,200 and wounding 15,000 yearly.

In 87 percent of nonfatal crimes involving handguns, offenders did not fire the weapon, but used it to intimidate. Victims reported that offenders fired the gun, but missed in 10 percent of the crimes involving handguns and wounded the victim in 2 percent of these crimes. Young black males from urban neighborhoods were most vulnerable to victimization by offenders armed with handguns. Urban black males between 16 and 24 years of age were victimized at a rate more than twice as high as the rate for urban white men and urban black women of similar ages. Handgun crimes represented 10 percent of all violent crimes and 27 percent of all violent crimes by armed offenders between 1979 and 1987. Offenders with handguns committed 7 percent of all rapes, 18 percent of all robberies, and 8 percent of all assaults. About 4 in every 10 victims of murder or non-negligent manslaughter were killed by offenders with handguns. For violent crimes committed with handguns, white offenders were responsible for 43 percent of rapes, 22 percent of robberies, and 58 percent of aggravated assaults. Blacks were responsible for 51 percent of rapes, 67 percent of robberies, and 35 percent of assaults. A higher percentage of crimes by strangers involved handguns than did crimes by acquaintances or relatives of victims. Victims of handgun robberies were more apt than other robbery victims to lose property. In addition, victims of handgun crimes were much less likely to use self-protective measures than victims of other violent crimes. 10 tables and 2 figures

Date Published: July 1, 1990