For Release: Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Washington, D.C.–The Violence Policy Center (VPC) today released the second edition of Drive-By America, a national analysis of drive-by shootings. The study, the most comprehensive analysis of its type, tallied news stories from the 50 states and the District of Columbia from July through December 2008 to identify data and trends associated with drive-by shootings, including the number of incidents by state, the number of victims killed and injured, as well as time of day and location. Findings of the study (available at http://www.vpc.org/studies/driveby2010.pdf) include:
- During the six-month period covered in the report, 733 drive-by shooting incidents were reported, claiming 154 lives and injuring 631 individuals.
- California led the nation in the number of drive-by shootings with 148 shootings, killing 40 and injuring 129. Following California were: Texas, 60 drive-by shootings, killing six and injuring 52; Florida, 48 drive-by shootings, killing 10 and injuring 42; Illinois, 38 drive-by shootings, killing 18 and injuring 53; and, Washington, 38 drive-by shootings, killing three and injuring 21.
- Nearly one out of five (18 percent) of those killed or injured were under the age of 18.
- In nearly half (46 percent) of the incidents, the victims were at a residence (either indoors or outdoors).
- Seventeen percent of the incidents involved shooting at another vehicle.
- Forty percent of all drive-by shootings occurred between the hours of 7:00 PM and midnight. A third (33 percent) were between midnight and 7:00 AM.
- Drive-by shootings peaked in the month of August and then declined as the months turned colder.
VPC Executive Director and study co-author Josh Sugarmann states, “Drive-by shooting victims are frequently children or other innocent victims caught in gunfire apparently intended for someone else. Our analysis represents the absolute floor as far as the number of drive-bys that occur each day. The actual number of incidents and victims is most likely far higher”
Stating that “additional research on the national level collecting and analyzing data on drive-by shootings is necessary to identify effective prevention strategies,” the VPC analysis offers the following recommendations:
- The feasibility of adding drive-by shooting as a category to the Uniform Crime Reports should be explored.
- Communities that experience a significant number of drive-by shootings should consider establishing their own data collection mechanism.
- Drive-by shootings are just one symptom of the increasing lethality of firearms available to the general public. State and federal policies should focus on limiting the caliber and capacity of firearms marketed to the general public.