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Aggravated Assault

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The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program defines aggravated assault as an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury.  The UCR Program further specifies that this type of assault is usually accompanied by the use of a weapon or by other means likely to produce death or great bodily harm.  Attempted aggravated assault that involves the display of—or threat to use—a gun, knife, or other weapon is included in this crime category because serious personal injury would likely result if the assault were completed.  When aggravated assault and larceny-theft occur together, the offense falls under the category of robbery.    

Overview

  • In 2011, there were an estimated 751,131 aggravated assaults in the nation.
  • The estimated number of aggravated assaults in 2011 declined 3.9 percent when compared with data from 2010 and 15.7 percent when compared with the estimate for 2002.
  • In 2011, the estimated rate of aggravated assaults was 241.1 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • A 10-year comparison of data from 2002 and 2011 showed that the rate of aggravated assaults in 2011 dropped 22.1 percent.  (See Tables 1 and 1A.)
  • Of the aggravated assault offenses in 2011 for which law enforcement agencies provided expanded data, 26.9 percent were committed with personal weapons such as hands, fists, or feet.  Slightly more than 21 percent (21.2) of aggravated assaults were committed with firearms, and 19.1 percent were committed with knives or cutting instruments.  The remaining 32.8 percent of aggravated assaults were committed with other weapons.  (Based on Table 19.)

Expanded aggravated assault data

Expanded offense data are the details of the various offenses that the UCR Program collects beyond the count of how many crimes law enforcement agencies report.  These details may include the type of weapon used in a crime, type or value of items stolen, and so forth.  In addition, expanded data include trends (for example, 2-year comparisons) and rates per 100,000 inhabitants.

Expanded information regarding aggravated assault is available in the following tables:

Trends (2-year):  Tables 12, 13, 14, and 15

Rates (per 100,000 inhabitants):  Tables 16, 17, 18, and 19

Weapons:  Tables 15, 19, and 22

Aggravated Assault Table, “Aggravated Assault, Types of Weapons Used, Percent Distribution by Region, 2011

What you won’t find on this page

  • Information on simple assaults.  Assaults that do not involve the use of a firearm, knife or cutting instrument, or other dangerous weapon and in which the victim did not sustain serious or aggravated injuries are reported as Other Assaults–Simple, Not Aggravated.  These data are not included in the aggravated assault statistics.  See arrests for information on other assaults.
  • Clearance and arrest data for aggravated assault.