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Gun Control USA; Police, researchers: To address gun violence, U.S. needs to track the number of people shot - Baltimore Sun

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward A. Flynn, whose department also collects statistics on nonfatal shootings, said that relying on a broad category of aggravated assault data is an ineffective way to spot and address trends in gun violence.

"If we can reliably extract nonfatal shooting data across jurisdictions," he said, "we will have a much more useful comparative metric."

The Baltimore Sun, in a yearlong investigation, compiled crime statistics on gun violence from the nation's largest cities, including nonfatal shootings, necessary to calculate the lethality of gun violence over the past five years. Half of the 30 biggest cities kept the necessary data.

The Sun's investigation found that one out of three people who were shot died of their wounds in Baltimore, Washington and New Orleans — a distinction that ranked them as the most lethal. The Sun also found that the odds for gunshot victims worsened in at least 10 of the nation's largest cities last year.

Several factors were behind those trends. In Baltimore, the number of victims shot in the head or multiple times has increased dramatically over the years. And in a number of places, gun-seizure data shows criminals are wielding higher-caliber guns and more large-capacity magazines.

The information collected by the FBI from local police departments across the country is compiled in the Uniform Crime Report. The report, which hasn't changed significantly since it was started in 1930, is one of two crime surveys the agency conducts. Both provide incomplete information, the DOJ report said.

"The two currently available crime databases run by the federal government cannot provide high-quality and promptly available data about the incidence of crime," the report said.

The second crime database run by the FBI, the National Incident Based Reporting System, is a program created in 1988 to record more specific national crime data than the Uniform Crime Report. But only about one-third of all U.S. law enforcement agencies use the new system, the DOJ report noted, and it doesn't require agencies to report nonfatal shootings as a separate category.

Both the Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide annual estimates of nonfatal shootings, but the information is based on limited surveys.

Read more; Police, researchers: To address gun violence, U.S. needs to track the number of people shot - Baltimore Sun

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