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Use of Weapons in Committing Crimes

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 1986
Using aggregated data from the National Crime Survey for 1973-1982, this report examines the use of weapons in criminal activity.

During this period, armed offenders were responsible for 24 million victimizations. Armed offenders were involved in 50 percent of all robberies, 33 percent of all assaults, and 25 percent of all rapes. Guns and knives were the most frequently used weapons, with 36 percent of other offenses involving other objects. Male victims and black victims were more likely than female and white victims to be accosted by an armed offender. Armed offenders were more likely than unarmed offenders to be involved in crimes involving multiple victims. Victims of armed offenders were more likely to be strangers than acquaintances or relatives. Offenders armed with guns and knives generally used the weapon to enforce victim submission and were less likely to attack victims than offenders armed with other weapons or unarmed offenders. However, when guns and knives were used to attack, injuries were likely to be more serious. Finally, completion rates for crimes involving guns and knives were higher than for those involving other weapons. 16 tables.

Date Published: November 1, 1986