What Percentage Of Crimes Are Committed With Stolen Guns?”

Someone came by looking for “what percentage of crimes are committed with stolen guns.” I think the result will be a little clearer if we work that problem “backwards.”

First of all, the total number of gun related crimes is also 100% of all gun crimes.

Conventional wisdom and 1980’s studies have it that 7% of all persons arrested for a gun crime have committed a “crime of domestic violence,” almost always with a legally purchased firearm.

The same studies found that 11% of persons arrested for a gun crime were armed with a gun from “unknown sources.” That is interesting but not extremely informative.

Those studies also found that 82 percent of those arrested for a gun crime were armed with a stolen gun. Which is interesting and informative.

So depending on how you want to slice the “unknown 11%” the percentage of gun toting criminals arrested with a stolen gun runs between 82 and 93%.

Conventional wisdom has it that 92% of all gun criminals are armed with a stolen gun. Something that is not unreasonable, although in fact it may be a percent or two high.

But all this talks begs the question; “What percentage of crimes are committed with stolen guns” is the question. The fact is that a very high percentage of gun related crimes are never solved.

We know from other studies that a typical criminal will commit a “major crime” every 48 hours or so to cover living expenses. We know that a typical criminal will “be on the street” for more than four months before they slip up and are arrested. That would place a typical criminal’s run at around 65 serious crimes before they are arrested.

But since it is not to the criminal’s interest to confess, we do not know how many of those are gun crimes and how many are not. Ten? Twenty? Fifty? Probably closer to a dozen. But until all the crimes get solved, we can only guess.

The best guess I can come up with is 96% of all gun related crimes are committed by career criminals, using a stolen gun. That seems to be the consensus among the detectives and criminologists I have talked to.

But the lack of information makes all this pretty murky.


About Stranger

Extranos Alley is a Collaborate effort to provide up to information on the relationship between restrictive gun laws and violent crime; as well as other related topics. While emphasis is on United States gun laws and crime, we also provide data on crime trends world wide.
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