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Gallup poll: Crime victims more likely to own guns

By
Allen Cone
Protesters take part in a die-in to demonstrate against the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and call for a ban on assault weapons, outside the NRA headquarters in Fairfax, Va., on June 21. A Gallup survey revealed Americans who have been crime victims in the past 12 months report higher rates of gun ownership than those who have not been victims. File photo by Molly Riley/UPI
Protesters take part in a die-in to demonstrate against the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and call for a ban on assault weapons, outside the NRA headquarters in Fairfax, Va., on June 21. A Gallup survey revealed Americans who have been crime victims in the past 12 months report higher rates of gun ownership than those who have not been victims. File photo by Molly Riley/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Crime victims report higher rates of gun ownership than those without weapons, according to findings from Gallup crime surveys.

Thirty-three percent of recent victims of assault, theft and property crime in the United States reported that they own a gun, compared to 28 percent of adults who haven't been recent crime victims, according to Gallup.

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During its annual crime survey, Gallup asks Americans if in the past 12 months they personally have been the victim of a number of crimes. In most years the survey has also asked Americans whether they personally own a gun.

The analysis is based on a combined 11,165 interviews from surveys conducted in 2000, 2005, 2007-11 and 2013-16. Overall, an average of 17 percent of Americans reported being the victim of at least one of the crimes in those polls.

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The survey did not reveal whether the reported crime prompted them to buy a gun or whether they already owned one.

Men are far more likely than women to own a gun.

Among men, 48 percent who have experienced a recent personal or property crime own a gun compared with 43 percent of men who haven't. Among women, 19 percent of crime victims own a gun, compared with 14 percent for those who haven't been recent crime victims.

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Gun ownership also is higher among those living in towns or rural areas (39 percent) than in suburbs (28 percent) and cities (22 percent).

Suburban and rural crime victims show higher gun ownership rates than their non-victim counterparts, but this is not true among urban residents. For the suburbs, it's 39 percent (victims) vs. 28 percent (non-victims) and for rural areas, it's 47 (victims) vs. 38 percent (non-victims). Among city dwellers, the crime victims were 22 percent and the non-victims were 23 percent.

When fear is considered -- self-reporting of being afraid to walk alone at night near where they live -- crime victims are more likely to own guns than non-victims.

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But the percentages are roughly the same.

For those who are fearful, gun ownership is 6 percentage points higher among crime victims (27 percent) than non-victims (21 percent). And among those not fearful, gun ownership is 8 points higher among victims than non-victims, 40 percent to 32 percent.

The analysis is based on a random sample of 11,165 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error is 1 percentage point for the total sample and non-crime victims, and 3 percentage points for victims of crime.

The FBI's "Crime in the United States, 2015" reveals a 3.1 percent increase in the estimated number of violent crimes and a 3.4 percent decrease in the estimated number of property crimes last year when compared with 2014 data.

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