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By Vinay D.S., Kwon B.S.

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For these reasons the committee urges a significant increase in methodological work on measurement in the area of firearms ownership and violence. The committee does not wish to paint an overly pessimistic picture of this research area. The existing body of research, as described in the other chapters of the report, has shed light on some of the most fundamental 19 20 FIREARMS AND VIOLENCE questions related to firearms and violence. However, in key data areas—the availability of firearms, the use of firearms, and the role of firearms in injuries and death—critical information is absent.

3 The UCR is a sample of crimes reported to and recorded by local law enforcement agen- 2The UCR program excludes jurisdictions covered by federal law enforcement agencies. 3In fact, the NCVS was created to address this problem by capturing data on both reported and unreported crimes, to develop a clearer picture of national crime trends. 32 FIREARMS AND VIOLENCE cies in the United States. Ideally, they reveal the number of crimes per month for each of the reporting jurisdictions. Of course, many crimes are not reported to the police, so increases or decreases in reports for certain offenses, such as burglary and auto theft, can result in large differences in outcomes and misleading conclusions about crime trends.

The latter two are thought to hold some promise for improving the research information on firearms and violence. Many of the other data collection sources (listed in Table 2-1) have very limited information on firearms and have been assessed elsewhere (see, for example, Annest and Mercy, 1998; Institute of Medicine, 1999). , the Census Bureau on behalf of the Department of Justice) that collects information from a representative sample of nearly 100,000 noninstitutionalized adults (age 12 and over) from approximately 50,000 households.

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