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Injuries from Violent Crime, 1992-98

Department of Justice
Department of Health and Human Services

SUNDAY, June 24, 2001 CDC 770/488-4277


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Each year about one in four United States residents who are victims of a violent crime are injured during the attack, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today. About 2.6 million people each year were injured from non-lethal violence (rape, sexual assault, robbery, simple assault and aggravated assault) from 1992 through 1998. About 480,000 of the victims injured or about one in five were admitted to a hospital or treated in an emergency department.

In addition, during the same time period, an average of 21,000 people were murdered each year. For every homicide victim 12 years old or older, approximately 121 people were injured in a violent crime, including 16 people whose injuries were serious. An estimated 344,000 victims incurred severe injuries, such as gunshot or knife wounds, broken bones, loss of teeth or internal bleeding. Fifty-eight percent of severely injured victims reported the offender or offenders had a weapon, usually a knife or other sharp object (such as scissors, ice pick or ax) or a blunt object such as a rock or club (44 percent), rather than a firearm (14 percent).

Victims of violence were more likely to report being injured when the offender was an intimate partner (48 percent injured) or a family member (32 percent injured) than when the offender was a stranger (20 percent injured).

Females who were injured in a violent crime were more likely to have been victimized by an intimate partner (37 percent) than a stranger (24 percent). The opposite was true for male victims-4 percent were injured by an intimate and 56 percent by a stranger. Thirty-nine percent of the women and 40 percent of the men were injured by a non-intimate family member or acquaintance. One in three injured victims reported that the person who injured them had committed a crime against them previously.

Victims who thought the offender was under the influence of drugs or alcohol were about 2 1/2 times as likely to report being severely injured as those who did not think the offender was under the influence.

The young, those with lower household incomes, blacks, American Indians and Hispanics were more likely to be violently victimized, and were more likely to be injured than were other groups. Persons living in urban areas had higher victimization, injury, and severe injury rates than those living in suburban or rural areas.

During the seven-year period studied, one in four attacks resulting in severe injuries and almost half of the attacks resulting in minor injuries were not reported to law enforcement agencies.

From 1992 to 1998, the number of non-lethal violent victimizations fell from an estimated 10,922,050 to 8,541,830. The proportion resulting in victim injury did not change substantially, ranging from 24 percent to 26 percent. The number of homicides of people 12 years old and older fell from 24,115 to 16,881. During these years an average of 72 percent of the people killed were murdered with a firearm.

The special report, "Injuries from Violent Crime, 1992-98" (NCJ-168633), was written by behavioral scientists Thomas Simon and James Mercy, in the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) and by BJS statistician Craig Perkins. Single copies may be obtained from the BJS clearinghouse number: 1-800-851-3420. Fax orders for mail delivery to 410/792-4358.

The BJS Internet site is: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/

Additional criminal justice materials can be obtained from the Office of Justice Programs homepage at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov

The CDC's NCIPC webpage is at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/

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After hours contact: Stu Smith at 301/983-9354
For CDC inquiries contact Paul Abamonte at 770/488-4277

Date Published: June 24, 2001