FBI Reports: More People Killed by Hand Than by Rifles in 2018

Victor Westerkamp
By Victor Westerkamp
October 1, 2019USshare
FBI Reports: More People Killed by Hand Than by Rifles in 2018
A supporter of the Second Amendement. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

More people got killed by someone unarmed than by a rifle in the United States in 2018, FBI statistics show.

The Bureau’s Unified Crime Report, a summary of homicide statistics for 2018, showed 672 people were killed by someone unarmed, in comparison to 297 deaths caused by rifles.

Furthermore, 1,515 were killed with “knives or cutting instruments,” that is five times the number of rifle assaults.

If one takes to account that the category of “rifles” used by the FBI included bolt action, pump action, single shot, and semi-automatic, and assault weapons, one may easily conclude that only a percentage of the 297 deaths attributed to “rifles” would have been carried out with an “assault weapon.”

Guns for sale at a Wal-Mart,
Guns for sale at a Walmart on July 19, 2000. (Newsmakers via Getty Images)

Data Collection

Most of the national police statistics are collected by the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) through its Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

But it’s voluntary for police departments to submit their data, as there are laws that prevent the federal government from interfering in states affairs.

Police departments serving 90 percent of the population do submit their data, which makes the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program the most comprehensive collection of statistical reports on policing.

However, the data is still incomplete. Cleveland, for example, did not report its 2015 numbers because of a problem with a new data collection system, yet the city has a violent crime rate more than three-and-a-half times the national average.

Furthermore, the FBI data only counts the most serious offense in every case. “If a burglary and a rape took place in the same incident, only the rape would be reported,” said del Carmen.

And even further, he noted, the FBI data only contains reported crimes, while the majority of crime goes unreported.

The BJS calls 90,000 households every year and asks people if they have been the victim of a crime in the past year.

The survey found that close to two-thirds of property crimes (burglary, theft, car theft) and almost half of violent crimes (rape, robbery, assault) went unreported in 2014 (pdf).

According to the BJS survey, one in 50 people (age 12 or older) reported being a victim of a violent crime in 2014, whereas the FBI reported one in 267 people was a victim, based on 2014 crime rates.

The BJS survey is also limited: It excludes children under 12, the homeless, people in nursing homes, jails, and prisons, and murder victims.

Epoch Times reporter Petr Svab reporter contributed to this report

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