Crime By The Numbers

At Byrna, we’re in the business of keeping people safe. We want everyone to have the ability to defend and protect themselves, and we believe that is possible to do in a non-lethal way. Part of this way of thinking means being prepared by considering the possibility that defending and protecting yourself is something you may have to do. We think everyone should be aware of that. Awareness without paranoia – that’s the balance we’d like to see everyone achieve. And a good place to start is by knowing the likelihood of being confronted with a dangerous situation. It’s crime by the numbers.

In this age of instantly accessible and seemingly limitless information, it would seem that crime statistics would be easy to find and definitive. Yes and no. While there is a lot of data available, there are just as many sources as there are statistics, and they don’t always agree. A lot of numbers are specific to regions and locales. Furthermore, when looking at any type of crime statistics, it has to be taken into consideration that there are a large number of incidnents that are never reported to the police.

The information presented here was derived mainly from 3 sources:

  • • The FBI
  • • National Crime Survey
  • • Gallup

The FBI and National Crime Survey data are both from the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. The National Crime Survey is a process similar to the US Census, and was created by the US Department of Justice as a way to obtain more accurate numbers, in light of the fact that less than half of violent crime incidents are reported to police. After much researching, comparing and analyzing, here’s what we know:

After several years of crime rates in general, and violent crimes in particular, decreasing, the trend has now been going up:

  • • 2015-2017 Violent crime is up 17%
  • • 2015-2018 Number of violent victimizations up 28%
  • • Number of violent incidents (U.S.): 2017: 5.2 million; 2018: 6 million

During the period of increase, the “seriousness” of violence increased. Violent crime is currently at a 4 year high. While these crimes include domestic violence, intimate partner violence, stranger violence and violent crime with injury, less than half of them (43%) are reported to police.

Crime With Weapons
From 2015 to 2018 violent crime with a weapon increased. In 2017 there were 5,179,800 violent incidents. The offender possessed, used or showed a firearm in 417,780 of those. In 2018, the number of incidents rose to 5,954,090, and a firearm was involved in 427,730 of those. In both years, firearm was involved roughly between 7% and 8% of time.

What Does It Mean?
The take away from this is that almost 6 million violent incidents is a lot. While it may be a small percentage of the U.S. adult population (only about 3%), it’s still a lot of incidents. The point is it can, and does, happen, and currently, the frequency is increasing. Knowing this reality can help you be prepared, without being fearful. Everyone should be able to feel secure not only in their preparedness for crime, but also in their ability to avoid becoming a victim or statistic.


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