Statement of Purpose History of crime perpetration is recognised as one of the strongest risk factors for subsequent crime perpetration. Our knowledge of the frequency, type, and timing of past crime perpetration among firearm injury patients is limited. We sought to examine past crime perpetration among firearm injury patients enrolled in a randomised trial of a program designed to promote their well-being.
Approach Helping Individuals with Firearm Injuries is an ongoing randomised trial (March 2016-present) at Harborview Medical Centre in Seattle. Patients with firearm injuries are randomised by calendar week to either usual care or an evidence-based case management program. The primary outcome is crime perpetration reduction. Patients’ records are linked to statewide administrative crime databases. We present results pertaining to crime perpetration before study entry among 66 patients enrolled through January 2017.
Results Most patients were men (83%) with a mean age of 30 years. 65% of patients had an arrest history. A substantially greater proportion of patients with an arrest history were unemployed (53%) and presented with an assault-related firearm injury (81%) than those without an arrest history (25% and 35%, respectively). The total count of arrest among those with an arrest history was 468 (individual range:1–66) including 103 violence-related and 365 nonviolence-related arrests. Of these patients, 74% and 93% had been respectively arrested for a violent and nonviolent crime; 67% had been arrested for both types of crime. Assault was the most common (84%) type of crime among those with a violence-related arrest. The most recent arrest occurred within one year prior to study entry for 42% of patients with an arrest history.
Conclusion The burden of past arrest among patients with firearm injuries is substantial.
Significance Findings highlight the importance of testing interventions designed to reduce the risk of future crime perpetration among firearm injury patients.