Standardizing the Display of IBR Data: Weapon Variables

Additional Examples of Displaying Weapon Variables

Weapon variables have been used in various reports to show what types of weapons are commonly used in violent offenses.

Presented below are examples of tables using Weapon variables.  SPSS code is presented with each table.


The first table compares the use of firearms and personal weapons (hands, fists, feet) during rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults occurring at schools.

Example 1.  Comparison of Personal Weapons vs. Firearms for Selected Offenses
Produced by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety in School Violence in South Carolina 1996 - 1998: An Incident-Based Descriptive Analysis, 2000.

weapons_sc.jpg (30087 bytes)

Firearms were more likely to be involved in robberies or aggravated assaults than any other school violence offense.  However, personal weapons were the most common weapons of choice for violent offenses.

To create this table, all firearm weapons were grouped together.  The rape, robbery, and aggravated assaults occurring at schools were then selected.  A bar graph was created, comparing the weapon types.  

Download SPSS syntax for Example 1.
Note: Please check that the variable names used in this syntax match the variable names in your data file.  If you need assistance, contact JRSA.


The next table looks at the type of weapon used to commit rapes by family members, known nonfamily individuals, and strangers.

Example 2.  Type of weapon/force used to commit rapes reported in 3 NIBRS states, by relationship of offender to victim, 1991
Produced by Brian A. Reaves in Using NIBRS Data to Analyze Violent Crime. Published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1993.

Type of weapon/force used

Relationship Number Total Physical force only Gun Knife Other, unknown None
Total 2,865 100% 80% 5% 7% 3% 4%
Family member 482 100% 90% 2% 3% 2% 3%
   Parent 172 100 91 1 1 1 6
   Spouse 86 100 78 5 14 2 1
   Sibling 38 100 95 3 0 3 0
   Other 186 100 94 1 1 4 1
Known, nonfamily 1,563 100% 85% 3% 4% 4% 4%
  Acquaintance 1,042 100 86 3 4 3 3
  Friend 252 100 88 4 4 3 1
  Neighbor 43 100 81 7 7 2 2
  Boyfriend 133 100 79 3 8 8 3
  Ex-spouse 26 100 73 8 12 8 0
  Other 67 100 73 3 4 1 18
Stranger 651 100% 69% 10% 16% 3% 3%
Unidentified 169 100% 57% 13% 7% 7% 17%

This table selects out rape offenses, and then categorizes relationship by family members, known nonfamily individuals,strangers, and unidentified offenders.   Frequencies of type of weapon are then run.

Download SPSS syntax for Example 2.
Note: Please check that the variable names used in this syntax match the variable names in your data file.  If you need assistance, contact JRSA.


The third example compares the type of weapon used by juvenile and young adult arrestees.

Example 3.  Weapon Use Among Juvenile and Young Adult Arrestees
Produced by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, in Juvenile and Young Adult Firearm Use in South Carolina, 1999.

Juveniles

Young Adults

Weapon Number Percent Number Percent
Total Firearms 717 18.1 2,320 32.6
Hands, Feet, etc 1,371 34.7 2,172 30.5
Blunt Object 745 18.8 1,105 15.5
Knife 713 18.0 988 13.9
All Other Weapons 358 9.0 447 6.3
Unknown 51 1.3 82 1.2
Total 3,995 100 7,114 100

The table shows that juveniles most often use personal weapons, whereas young adults are more likely to use firearms.

This table was created by creating age groups of juveniles and young adults, and then selecting out the offenses committed by these two groups.  A frequency of weapon type was then displayed.

Download SPSS syntax for Example 3.
Note: Please check that the variable names used in this syntax match the variable names in your data file.  If you need assistance, contact JRSA.


The final table looks at the weapon used for Part 1 violent offenses.

Example 4.  Violent crimes by the type of weapon used
Produced by Kevin Strom in Crime Data Requests, 1994-1996.   Produced by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1997.

Type of Crime

Type of Weapon Murder Forcible Rape Robbery Aggravated Assault
No weapon 0 3114 2723 3405
Handgun 421 133 6620 7884
Shotgun 69 4 317 1411
Rifle 58 0 132 945
Other firearm 127 35 1255 2648
Knife/sharp object 166 242 1932 15273
Other weapon 137 468 1656 24611
Personal weapon 72 6628 6736 22527
Unknown 100 583 1251 2101
Total 1150 11207 22622 80805

As this table shows, a number of violent offenses are reported as involving no weapon.   For the offenses listed other than murder, the most frequently reported weapon is a personal weapon (hands, fists, feet).

Download SPSS syntax for Example 4.
Note: Please check that the variable names used in this syntax match the variable names in your data file.  If you need assistance, contact JRSA.