FBI Crime Data for 2019 Released

More Self-Defense, Fewer Gun-Related Murders

Weapons used in homicides, 2015-2019. (Source: FBI Uniform Crime Report)

For the fourth year in a row, the number of firearm-related homicides declined in the United States in 2019, while the number of self-defense shootings increased. In both categories, handguns played the largest role.

This information can be found in the 2019 FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR), which was released the last Monday of September, as is traditional. According to that report, last year saw 334 self-defense shootings by private citizens, which is a jump from the 317 reported in 2018 and the 313 in 2017.

Overall, there were 386 self-defense killings by private citizens in 2019, up from the 375 reported in 2018. These are all determined to have been “justifiable homicides” by investigators and prosecutors, perhaps a combination of more people owning guns for home defense, and more people who became licensed to carry for their personal protection. As reported last week by Insider Online, John Lott at the Crime Prevention Research Center has released an updated estimate on licensed concealed carry in the U.S., putting the number at about 19.5 million.

Justifiable homicides, 2015-2019. (Source: FBI Uniform Crime Report)

Handguns were used in 237 of last year’s justifiable homicides, another 16 involved rifles of any kind — including those evil “semiautomatic assault rifles,” we presume — and eight were confirmed to have been committed with shotguns. Another 73 self-defense killings were committed with unknown types of firearms, because they apparently weren’t identified in the law enforcement reports provided to the FBI for assembling the UCR.

In a press release announcing the report’s release, the FBI noted the “estimated number of violent crimes…decreased when compared with the previous year’s statistics.”



Only Ten States Better

One little detail we dug out of the 2019 UCR actually wasn’t part of the report, but we looked at a state-by-state homicide chart that is part of the report and discovered only 10 states racked up more homicides than the City of Chicago.

Translation: The 495 slayings reported to Chicago police in calendar year 2019 exceeded the number of murders in each of 40 entire states! That is hardly something worth bragging about, and it’s not a dare, although the Windy City this year evidently considers it such because the city has already surpassed last year’s body count and there are still two-and-one-half months to go in 2020.

Those states providing more murder victims than Chicago last year were:

California — 1,679
Texas — 1,379
Michigan — 566
Pennsylvania — 556
Maryland — 551
New York — 550
Louisiana — 522
Ohio — 521
North Carolina — 516
Tennessee — 498

Of course, the total body count for all of Illinois last year was 771, but since that state encompasses Chicago, we left them off the list.



Know what objects are used more than rifles or shotguns to commit murders?
According to the FBI, it’s knives and other cutting instruments.

Cut, Slash and Run

One fact that never changes from one year to the next is that the FBI Crime Report invariably reports more murders committed with knives or other cutting instruments than with rifles or shotguns.

In 2019, for example, the FBI UCR says 364 of the 10,258 gun-related murders that year were known to have been committed with rifles of any kind, including semi-autos, lever-actions, bolt-actions and single shot models. An estimated 200 murders were committed with shotguns.

But look at the category covering sharp objects. The FBI says 1,476 people were murdered last year by stabbing or slashing. And there were even slightly more slayings committed with blunt objects (397) and “personal weapons” (hands, fists, feet), which accounted for 597 murder victims.

This raises a question for hardcore gun prohibition lobbying organizations. If rifles of any kind are involved in a fraction of all the murders in any given year, why are anti-gunners so determined to demonize and then ban semi-auto modern sporting rifles such as the AR-15?

What was that? We didn’t hear you.


A Numbers Game

The FBI tries extremely hard to be matter-of-fact with the annual UCR, offering numbers and allowing people to draw their own conclusions. This is raw estimate data not run through a grinder to fit a political agenda. The data speaks for itself, and if people don’t listen, that’s their fault.

Here is some information directly from the agency’s news release:

• In 2019, there were an estimated 1,203,808 violent crimes. When compared with the estimates from 2018, the estimated number of robbery offenses fell 4.7% and the estimated volume of rape offenses decreased 2.7%. The estimated number of aggravated assault offenses rose 1.3%, and the volume of murder and non-negligent manslaughter offenses increased 0.3%.
• Nationwide, there were an estimated 6,925,677 property crimes. The estimated numbers for all three property crimes showed declines when compared with the previous year’s estimates. Burglaries dropped 9.5%, larceny-thefts decreased 2.8% and motor vehicle thefts were down 4%.
• Collectively, victims of property crimes (excluding arson) suffered losses estimated at $15.8 billion in 2019.
• The FBI estimated law enforcement agencies nationwide made 10.1 million arrests in 2019, excluding those for traffic violations.
• The arrest rate for violent crime was 156.3/100,000 inhabitants, and the arrest rate for property crime was 343.3/100,000 inhabitants.
• By violent crime offense, the arrest rate for murder and nonnegligent manslaughter was 3.4/100,000 inhabitants; rape, 7.4; robbery, 24.7; aggravated assault, 120.8.
• Of property crime offenses, the arrest rate for burglary was 52.3/100,000 inhabitants; larceny-theft, 263; motor vehicle theft, 25.1. The arrest rate for arson was 2.8/100,000 inhabitants.
• In 2019, 13,247 law enforcement agencies reported their staffing levels to the FBI. These agencies reported that, as of October 31, 2019, they collectively employed 697,195 sworn officers and 306,075 civilians — a rate of 3.5 employees per 1,000 inhabitants.

If you’re a convicted felon, you probably don’t want to promote violence
against police while brandishing a gun on social media.

Speaking of Crimes

There is no formal criminal charge anywhere for being stupid in public, but not to worry, a Kentucky resident identified as Cortez Lamont Edwards is facing enough trouble to let how he got into his current dilemma just slide.

According to a Justice Department news release, the 29-year-old Mr. Edwards has been charged with federal crimes after he “allegedly threatened police in a social media video while brandishing weapons.”

In the video, according to Fox News, Edwards “allegedly” posted the questionable video on Facebook Live, “holding a gun and saying he would shoot Louisville police officers if someone paid him $30,000.”

The Fox report said Edwards “was seen with an ‘AR variant pistol including a non-extendible support brace with an extended magazine’ during the clip.” And that’s where there is a problem. Edwards, according to Fox, is “previously convicted.” He was a felon in possession of a firearm.

Fox reported local and federal officers found Edwards at his home in possession of a gun. The Justice Department memo identified the gun as, “A Glock Model 19, 9-millimeter semi-automatic pistol, bearing serial number BPHA723.” Insider Online tried to find out if that gun was being traced to determine how it got into Edwards’ possession.

His prior problem involved a felony conviction for drug-related and gun-related crimes. If convicted on this new beef, Edwards could be in prison for a very long time and be fined up to $250,000.

Of course, all suspects are considered innocent until convicted in court.