Welcome to modern weapons analysis.
This is the final lesson where we analyse violent crime for the lessons learnt.
Today, we look specifically where weapons have been used to commit violent crime. We have focused in on weapons use because of the significant increase in lethality they present. Knowing when and how weapons are being used to commit violent crime is vital in Understanding Modern Violence.
In this lesson we will be looking at both FBI UCR data as well as BJS (NCVS) data. We will start off looking at the main categories of violent crime, look at victimization rates involving firearms then break down homicide by weapon type. We have examined how weapons are used to commit homicide more so than assault or robbery because of the lethal outcome homicide represents.
Finally, we will finish off this examination into violent crime statistics to see how victims tend to respond to violenct crime.
Let's get into it.
Assault with Weapons (Type - Total Numbers)
Above data drawn from FBI UCR data. Specifically, the data is pulled from Table 22 Aggravated Asssault, by State, Types of Weapons, 2013. The link to the source data is here.
The above chart looks what weapons were used in the US to commit violent crime in the year 2013. This is a snapshot of just one year.
If we think back over the last couple of lessons of Understanding Modern Violence, we will remember that assault is an alpha male type of combative behaviour.
Assault tends to happen due to an argument or some other social situation. They tend to develop from some sort of social situation. Most cases of assault are not planned. Most are not premeditated.
We can see this playing out in the above data. Look at the most common weapon type - 'Other weapons'. This is a label of weapons with no normal category. They are not normal weapons.
Other weapons are improvised weapons.
As an argument escalates and people get angry, they just pick up and use whatever is close to hand. This could be anything. It could be a chair, a bottle, an ashtray or a rock. Anything.
It is important to be mindful of improvised weapons. Be wary of a potential attacker grabbing something something they can use as a weapon as well as consider using an item nearby in your own defense against either alpha male violence or predatory violence. To state the obvious, this would be after everything else has failed.
Take a look around you right now. What would you see as a favourable weapon. Would it be easy to weild? Could it quickly be brought to bear?
HOMICIDE WITH WEAPONS (TYPE - TOTAL NUMBERS)
The above chart is also drawn from the same FBI UCR data but from Table 20 - homicide here.
The above chart looks at numbers of homicides in the US, by weapon type, over 2013.
While handguns and rifles feature as the clear 'leader' in causes of homicide, it is important to acknowledge that the fatality rates of victims shot with firearms is going to be much higher than hands and fists and even knives. Clearly, guns are more effective killer of people than other modern weapons available in communities in Western countries.
This is not to say the US doesn't have a problem with the sheer number of firearms, it does, but the higher rate is definately going to be skewed because of the higher lethality of firearms. An important point to note.
ROBBERY WITH WEAPONS (TYPE - TOTAL NUMBERS)
The above chart is also drawn from FBI UCR data, this time from Table 21. The link to this data can be found here.
The above chart shows the type of weapons used to commit robberies - total numbers in 2013.
We can once more see our understanding of robbery (predatory violence), playing out in the data. We know that predatory crime is generally premeditated. So we can see in this data people generally arm themselves with the best weapons they can get their hands on. Either the threat of sheer numbers and intimidation or by the use of firearms.
FIREARM VICTIMIZATIONS 2005 - 2014 (RATE PER 1,000 PEOPLE)
The above chart sees us move away from FBI UCR data and back to Bureau of Justice (BJS) data. The above chart is from BJS Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, 1993-2014 (Table 2. Filename: cv14t02).
This chart doesn't really have anything that flies out at us but it does have utility in dispelling some potential incorrect assumptions.
There is a narrative in the US that gun crime is on the up, guns are killing more peole every year and guns are getting out of control. I am not saying guns are good or guns are not a problem, but it is important to know the facts.
We can clearly see from the above chart that firearm killings are not going up. Instead they have, on the whole, gradually been going down since 2005. Remember, in the early 1990s that number would be way off the charts.
HOMICIDES BY WEAPON TYPE - NUMBER KILLED
The data from the above chart is drawn from BJS Report title: Homicide Trends in United States, Figure 42, Homicides by weapon type, 1980-2008 Filename: htus8008f42.csv
The above chart looks at the total numbers of people killed during homicides, by weapon type from 1980 to 2004. This is another fairly large dataset that shows us long term trends. Long term trends lets us see how things have been so we have a more complete understanding of where we are today.
Again, guns are the biggest killer. Note that guns mostly follows that peak in overall violent crime that occured in the early 1990s.
However, interestingly, the other weapon type data does not track that overall trend. Instead, we can see those killed by knives has oh so slightly trended gradually down over the entire time frame.
The other weapon types have stayed mostly flat over that time period.
HOMICIDE BY INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP AND TYPE OF WEAPON (%)
The above data is drawn from BJS Report title: Homicide Trends in United States, Table 11. Homicides by intimate relationship and type of weapon, 1980-2008. Filename: htus8008t11.csv
The above chart is interesting. It looks at homicide by intimate relationship and type of weapon by percentage point.
Look at the comparison between Husband and Ex-husband along with comparing Wife and Ex-wife. We can see both husband and wife tend to prefer knives to guns compared with the equivelent ex's. It's just a slight trend but interesting nonetheless.
The obvious stand out in the above data is homicides by Boyfriends. They prefer knives to guns and basically don't use the other weapon types.
Same-sex relationship is also a bit of an anomoly. The type of weapon used to kill their partners are much more varied and less predictable though it is worth noting again the slight preference to knives over guns. I have absolutely no idea why the wide variation in weapons plays out this way when comparing them to the other relationship types.
VICTIM'S RESPONSE TO VIOLENT CRIME - 1993 TO 2001
The above data is drawn from BJS NCVS report title: Weapon Use and Violent Crime, 1993-01, NCJ 194820, Text box 6, All victims' responses to violent crime, 1993-2001 - filename: wuvc01bt6.csv
This is our last chart and it is a little different.
While this chart is drawn from a BJS report about weapons use this chart looks at victims' responses to all violent crime over the period 1993 to 2001.
Firstly, I draw your attention to the second most common response which was Offered no resistance. This can be a good thing or a bad thing.
Offering no resistance can be a very smart thing to do when you are mugged. If you give the attacker your wallet or purse, generally the mugger will flee with their prize. Attempting to resist and fight back can introduce risk. Remember also that in muggings and robberies attackers are more likely to be armed and armed with a firearm. However offering no resistance to a case of assault where the victim is being 'beaten up' is not ideal.
So taking some sort of physical defensive action in the case of assault (again, our last option) is better than taking a beating.
Escaping can obviously be a smart thing to do. If you are caught by surprise in a mugging situation, evading, escaping or otherwise getting away is the preffered option. See also Got help or gave alarm. Another good option that is short of physical violence.
The other two categories near the middle are also interesting. Persuaded or appeased offender and Scared or warned off offender or tactics short of violence as well. These approaches are in the avoidance and de-escalation areas just short of physical violence.
So while we always aim to defeat the attacker without fighting him as far pre of physical violence as we can, by not being chosen as a target or victim at all, other options are possible when a physical threat has manifested itself in front of you and your more pre methods have failed you.
That brings us to the end of this lesson. I trust you now feel more informed about how weapons are used to commit violent crime and more specifically, how weapons are used differently in different violent crime categories.
A lot of this ties back to previous lessons in Understanding Modern Violence relating to the topic of alpha male vs predatory human violence.
Remember, if you have any questions about any Understanding Modern Violence lessons, just reply to the relevant email. It will come straight to me and I read all emails.
Until next time, have a good day and stay safe out there.