1. Adopt a definition of nonfatal shootings
2. Examine and evaluate available data sources
3. Create a data collection plan
4. Collect and analyze the data
5. Report on the data
Step 1: Adopt a definition of nonfatal shootings (NFS)
q The incident meets NIBRS and UCR definition of an aggravated assault with a firearm
q The victim suffers a penetrating gunshot wound caused by the intentional firing of a weapon with a powder discharge
*It is important to adopt a definition that your agency can use consistently over time.
q Events where someone fired a firearm into the air
q Events where someone pointed a firearm at a person, fired, and missed
q Events where there was no criminal intent
q Accidental shootings
q Self-inflicted shootings
q Self-defense shootings
q Victims with shrapnel wounds (i.e., the wound was not caused by a firearm projectile)
q Events or victims where the weapon does not meet the federal definition of a firearm (18 U.S. Code § 921(a)(3)) (e.g., flare
gun, airsoft gun)
*Graze wounds are caused by the firearm projectile and their inclusion or exclusion should be discussed and decided.
Step 2: Examine and evaluate available data sources
q Identify all official data (UCR/NIBRS)
q Identify other data sources (e.g. internal investigative documents) that contain information on nonfatal shooting events
What event titles or headings might include a nonfatal shooting?
Records Management System (incident reports)
Calls for Service (Computer Aided Dispatch)
Other official data
q Determine if the necessary shooting event information is captured in standalone data fields or in narrative form
Questions to ask about the data source:
Does the data source identify events where a bullet actually hits a person?
Determine what a gunshot wound (GSW) includes
Beth M. Huebner, Natalie K. Hipple
Step 3: Create a data collection plan
q Designate someone (or a team) to be responsible for keeping the “official” NFS count
q Develop a document on the steps for defining and documenting a NFS
q Document victims AND incidents (the numbers will be different)
q Determine frequency of record review—daily, every couple of days, weekly, etc.
q Determine how the data will be collected, and where it will be stored
q Create a review process for events that are not clear
Determine a process for clarification/confirmation of events and victims
Create a system for “Holds” or incidents that require more information before categorizing
Create a process for ‘unfounding’ an NFS
‘Unfounding’ in this case means removing it from the NFS total for a specific reason (i.e., a case is
ruled self-defense therefore lacks criminal intent, the victim died so event is now a homicide, etc.)
Step 4: Collect data on nonfatal shootings
q Periodically review the data collection plan
q Periodically review current and new data sources
Other relevant data fields important for understanding and documenting NFS:
q Victim or suspect is a gang member or part of a criminal enterprise or group
q National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) data/hits from the event
q Address of the event (if not known, any community/location indicator can be used)
q Motive of the crime (robbery, drug sales, interpersonal conflict)
q Witness information (race, gender, criminal history, relationship with victim/offender)
*Keep in mind data points surrounding gun homicides that are important to your agency.
Step 5: Analyze and report about the data
q Determine what the report will contain and how the data will be analyzed
q Determine who/what unit will generate the report
q Determine how often reports are generated
q Determine how (i.e. workflow) and to whom the report is distributed and discussed
q Determine the workflow for responding to media and other public information requests
Beth M. Huebner, Natalie K. Hipple