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NCJ Number: 118771 Find in a Library
Title: Stray Bullets and "Mushrooms:" Random Shootings of Bystanders in Four Cities, 1977-88
Author(s): L W Sherman; L Steele; D Laufersweiler; N Hoffer; S A Julian
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 26
Sponsoring Agency: Crime Control Institute
Washington, DC 20007
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: To test the impression that the frequency of press accounts of bystander killings and woundings has increased nationally in recent years, this study compiled all shootings of bystanders hit "at random" and reported in the published indexes of the New York and Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post for 1977-88, as well as a key word computer search of stories in the Boston Globe.
Abstract: The study found a rapid increase in both bystander woundings and killings since 1985 in all four cities. The base rate was small, and total bystander deaths apparently comprised less than 1 percent of all homicides in these cities. Nonetheless, the numbers were sufficiently large to show that most bystanders reported shot in New York and Los Angeles were victims of random shootings into crowds rather than single stray bullets striking lone individual bystanders. The reverse was true in Boston and Washington, with the effect of much lower rates of bystanders reported shot in those cities. 7 tables, 34 references. (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Homicide trends; Media coverage
Index Term(s): Victimization
Note: This paper will appear in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Volume 5, Number 4, December 1989.
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