The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

September 21, 2010
Drive-by shooting data hard to come by

Drive-by shootings seem to be a regular occurrence in Sacramento -- the last reported one happening in Oak Park on Aug. 31. Surprisingly, there is no national count of such crimes, as defined by the U.S. Dept of Justice as "an incident in which the shooter fires a firearm from a motor vehicle at another person, vehicle, building, or another stationary object".

But one non-profit group has tried to get a statistical handle on the problem. The Violence Policy Center tracked news accounts of drive-by shootings from July 1 through Dec. 31, 2008. The study reports 733 incidents, resulting in 631 injuries and 154 deaths. California led the nation with 148 incidents, 40 dead and 129 injured.

The VPC further analyzed the shootings in terms of victim age, time and location. The researchers found:

* Most of the victims were 18 or older. 145 of the 785 victims were identified as under 18.

* Nearly half of the incidents happened at a residence (314 of the 676 shootings where location was reported).

* 17 percent of the incidents involved shots at another vehcle.

* Most of the crimes happened between the hours of 7 p.m. and 12 am.

* Possible gang-involvement was mentioned in 17 percent of cases.

Hat tip: The California Research Bureau.

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