New Study: 80% of Firearm Homicide Victims Have An Arrest Record

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New Study: 80% of Firearm Homicide Victims Have An Arrest Record
(Photo: ICJIA)

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) recently published a study, “Victim Offender Overlap: Firearm Homicide Victims with and Without Criminal Records,” confirming what some have long suspected: a notable portion of firearm homicide victims have had previous encounters with the law.

Below you’ll find a brief summary of ICJIA’s findings, suggestions, and conclusions.

Key Takeaways

  • Predominant Victim Demographics: Over 79% of firearm homicide victims had a prior arrest, predominantly being male, Black, and under 30 years of age.
  • Firearm Homicides on the Rise: The U.S. witnessed a 38% increase in firearm homicides from 2018 to 2020.
  • Illinois Homicide Rate Surges: Illinois observed a firearm homicide rate 58% higher than the national average in 2020.
  • Link Between Substance Use and Homicide: There is a significant 38.6% overlap between controlled substance arrests and firearm homicide victims.

Uprising in Firearm Homicides

Firearm violence starkly defines a burgeoning crisis in America, taking over 19,000 lives in 2020 alone through firearm homicides.

A sharp 38% increase from 2018 to 2020 underscores the escalating issue.

COVID-19 Pandemic Exacerbates Firearm Violence

Various factors, including increased anxiety, untreated mental health issues, and financial strain during the COVID-19 pandemic, have likely intensified firearm accessibility and usage, they authors contend.

Illinois: A Closer Look at Firearm Homicides

In 2020, Illinois accounted for 1,167 firearm homicide deaths, a staggering rate 58% higher than the national average.

Notably, Black persons encountered a firearm homicide risk 10 times higher than White persons.

Chicago, especially in disadvantaged neighborhoods, becomes a focal point, showcasing the deeply entrenched firearm violence issue.

Dissecting the Demographics and Criminal History Overlap

Firearm Homicide Victim Demographics

Significant analysis of Illinois Violent Death Reporting System (IVDRS) data reveals that over 79% of firearm homicide victims had a prior arrest. The majority were male, Black, and below 30 years.

Concerningly, 70% of those arrested had been convicted, and 55.9% of those convicted were incarcerated.

Incident Characteristics

Data illustrates a pronounced reliance on handguns in firearm homicides, predominantly occurring in Cook County, irrespective of criminal history.

The Ties Between Criminal History and Victimhood

The average age for the first arrest of firearm homicide victims stands just below 18.

These victims often have multiple prior arrests and convictions, underlining a potent link between firearm violence victimhood and criminal history.

Deeper Implications of Study Findings

The victim-perpetrator overlap among firearm homicide victims presents a compelling case for a comprehensive violence prevention strategy in Illinois and nationally.

A robust 80% of firearm homicide victims have faced arrest at least once, which is notably higher compared to other regional and national samples, indicating an intricate intertwining of victimhood and criminality.

Integrating Trauma-Informed Care and Evidence-Based Treatments

With a growing move towards trauma-informed care and evidence-based treatments, such as cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapy in the criminal justice system, practitioners can enhance skills and behavior changes in those incarcerated or under community supervision.

Preliminary research points to promising outcomes, including reduced recidivism through such approaches.

Substance Use: An Opportunity for Intervention

A striking 38.6% overlap between controlled substance arrests and firearm homicide victims underscores the potential role of substance use in the offender/victim overlap, presenting a chance for earlier intervention and alternative treatments instead of traditional justice involvement.

The Bidirectional Relationship of Firearm Victimization and Perpetration

Research emphasizes the bidirectional relationship between firearm victimization and perpetration.

The proliferation of firearm violence through social networks parallels disease epidemic patterns, necessitating a more comprehensive approach than solely focusing on offenders.

Concluding Remarks

With 80% of firearm homicide victims having at least one arrest record, this research underscores a critical need to holistically understand and address the complex interplay between perpetration and firearm homicide victimization.

Deeper insights into shared and independent risk factors, coupled with a nuanced understanding of crime perpetration patterns and victim demographics, will pave the way for more informed, comprehensive violence and crime prevention initiatives.

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  • Geo October 19, 2023, 7:53 pm

    There is no such thing as firearm violence.

  • D.J. October 15, 2023, 4:57 pm

    We must remember , facts do not matter to North American communists .
    Regurgitation of the obvious makes no difference to their way of life or
    the agenda they desire .
    Nothing anyone says , factual or otherwise , will make a damned bit of
    difference towards their utopian dreams .
    My late Father used to tell me , “ Boy , only a fool will argue with one . “

  • Smitty October 14, 2023, 3:38 pm

    They wasted the money on the study. “No shit Sherlock” comes to mind to me before reading the article….

  • LibsWorshipSatan October 13, 2023, 3:55 pm

    No surprise when 13% of the population commits 50% of the violent crimes…

  • JD October 13, 2023, 3:38 pm

    anybody ever hear the phrase; ‘live the sword-die by the sword”. You think there is any truth to that statement? Another phrase; “you reap what you sow.” any truth to that statement? Criminals associate with criminals any way you slice it. The truth is you can’t give facts and statistics to liberals. they ignore them. they don’t want to hear them. it doesn’t feel good to them. Reality sucks. Only the bad guys feelings shouldn’t be hurt. NYS just passed an ammo background check. Come on-how many criminals with stolen guns are buying a couple of boxes of ammo and going to the range to shoot with family or buddies? The street gangsters don’t buy boxes of ammo to practice. Only the law-abiding average Joe Americans do that. Criminals don’t want to be out in daylight with a stolen gun in their hands. They don’t buy massive amounts of ammo. only enough to kill and rob with.

  • keeping it real October 13, 2023, 2:21 pm

    So I guess the solution here is to stop arresting black males when they commit crimes and the problem will stop?

  • George October 13, 2023, 2:09 pm

    There is no such thing as firearm violence.

  • Geo October 13, 2023, 2:05 pm

    There is no such thing as firearm violence!

  • Ozark Muleskinner October 13, 2023, 11:50 am

    I have several guns, one from dad, that are 50-70 years old. NONE of them, nor their younger siblings, have ever killed anyone. According to the gun ban crowd, I must have some really lazy guns.

  • Michael J October 13, 2023, 11:05 am

    Funny thing about being stereotyped, it’s usually backed up by statistics.

  • W October 13, 2023, 10:12 am

    Firearm violence starkly defines a burgeoning crisis in America… Firearm homicide…

    Apparently I bought the non-violent, non-homicidal firearms. None of mine have ever committed any form of violence since I have owned them! Is it possible that it has anything to do with the person controlling them?

    Come on Larry Z. The information your are bringing here is good information but could have/should have been worded much more sensical.

  • Jim C October 13, 2023, 8:04 am

    Its the culture perpetuated by so-called “rap artists “ and liberal thinking that allows for almost non-existent penalties. You can have all the think groups on earth come up with statistics but everyone is hesitant to acknowledge the elephant in the room.

  • Danno October 13, 2023, 8:00 am

    The word “Latinx” does not exist.
    At least not with Latinos or other sane people.

  • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment October 12, 2023, 1:25 pm

    Since it’s criminals killing criminals i ask why is that a problem?

    • S.H. Blannelberry October 12, 2023, 3:16 pm

      Good point.

    • Jackpine October 13, 2023, 7:44 am

      Few people on the left are willing to acknowledge criminal black-on-black (handgun) homicides.They ignore the data and choose to believe ‘assault weapons’ with 30-round magazines are doing all the killing; and that would then mean the NRA is the root cause of the mayhem.

      The Biden administration forwards this narrative by labelling all American conservatives as an existential terroristic threat to democracy, thereby justifying their attempt to disarm that half of the country. We need to get these facts out to the public to counter the nonsense that AR-15’s are a significant factor in firearm fatalities.

    • Big Al 45 October 13, 2023, 11:00 am

      Well, it’s NOT to a point, but there is the issue with drive bys and when they blatantly open fire in a crowd or a crowed place.
      And that seems to be SOP with many of these cowards.

      • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment October 13, 2023, 12:37 pm

        the drive by’s in the wee hours of the morning with large amounts of armed gang members are the only ones that we have here so no buts to that.

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