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Toy Guns: Involvement in Crime and Encounters with Police

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 1990
40 pages
This survey documents the number of crimes committed by persons using imitation guns and the number of confrontations by police with persons who had imitation guns which were thought to be real.

The survey was sent to all municipal police and consolidated police departments serving populations of 50,000 or more inhabitants, all sheriff's departments with 100 or more sworn employees, and all primary State police agencies. The total survey response rate was 70 percent with a usable response rate of 65.5 percent. Findings indicate that between January 1, 1985 and September 1, 1989, 458 police departments (65.5 percent) reported 5,654 robberies known to be committed with an imitation gun. In the same period, police departments reported 8,128 known assaults with imitation guns. One hundred eighty-six police departments reported 1,128 incidents where an officer warned or threatened to use force and 252 cases where actual force had been used based on the belief that an imitation gun was real. 5 tables, 12 figures, 8 illustrations, appendix.

Date Published: June 1, 1990