The National Crime Victimization Survey

Discussion by Brian Blase

The National Crime Victimization (NCV) Survey from part of the 1990s (extracted from Table 7.1 of Armed by Gary Kleck and Don Kates) shows injury rates (pre-self protection and post- self protection) for crime victims who take a variety of self protective actions. The actions range from attacking the offender with a gun to yelling at offender and turning on lights to taking no self protection measures at all. A recent improvement in the NCV Survey allows analysts to separately identify injuries inflicted after the victim engaged in some form of self-protection. When investigating whether the self-protection measures are effective at reducing the likelihood of injury, it is necessary to compare the post-self protection injury rates for the different strategies with the injury rate when no self protection measure is taken.

Taking the examples of confrontational robbery and assault shows an interesting story. After the self-protection method was employed, the rate of sustaining injury or further injury was lower in every instance than was the rate of sustaining injury when no self-protection measure was employed at all. Note that aggravated assaults are much more common than robbery. Data covering a longer period of time makes an even stronger case for defensive gun use.

Percent Injured after Self Protection Action
Any SP with gun 7.7% 3.6%
Chased, tried to catch O 9.6% 9.0%
Ran/drove away; tried to 4.9% 5.4%
Screamed from pain, fear 22.0% 12.6%
Threatened O without weapon 15.8% 13.6%
No SP measures at all 23.6% 55.2%

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