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Homicide, other violent crimes in the workplace declined in 2009


This news story was published on April 21, 2011.
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Law enforcement officers, security guards and bartenders had highest rates of workplace violence

WASHINGTON – More than 572,000 nonfatal violent crimes-rape, robbery, or assault-occurred against persons age 16 or older while they were at work or on duty in 2009, according to a Justice Department Bureau of Justice Statistics’ (BJS) newly released publication, Workplace Violence, 1993-2009. This is a level of nonfatal violent crime that is about a quarter of the 2.1 million nonfatal violent crimes that occurred at the workplace in 1993.

Along with the decline in nonfatal workplace violence, the number of homicides in the workplace decreased by 51 percent from a high of 1,068 homicides in 1993 to 521 homicides in 2009.

Employed persons age 16 or older experienced nonfatal violence outside of work at a rate that was three times higher than the rate of nonfatal violence while at work or on duty from 2005 to 2009. Outside of work, the average annual rate of violence was 16 violent crimes per 1,000 employed persons ages 16 or older, while at work it was five violent crimes per 1,000. Persons not employed also experienced nonfatal violence (17 violent crimes per 1,000) at more than three times the rate of those in the workplace.

Law enforcement personnel, security guards and bartenders had the highest rates of nonfatal workplace violence, while persons in retail sales occupations had the highest rate of nonfatal nonworkplace violence. Males had a higher rate of workplace violence and a slightly higher rate of nonworkplace violence than females. Non-Hispanic whites had a higher rate of workplace violence than non-Hispanic blacks, while non-Hispanic blacks had a higher rate of nonworkplace violence than non-Hispanic whites. Employed persons ages 20 to 34 had the highest rate of workplace violence, while those ages 16 to 19 had the highest rate of nonworkplace violence.

Workplace violence was less likely to include serious nonfatal violent crime than nonworkplace violence and violence against persons not employed. Serious nonfatal violence includes robbery, sexual assault, burglary, and aggravated assault. About a fifth of workplace violence from 2005 through 2009 consisted of serious violent crime, compared to almost two-fifths of nonworkplace violence and violence against persons not employed. Simple assault accounted for almost 80 percent of workplace violence against employed persons and around 60 percent each of nonworkplace violence and violence against the persons not employed.

Strangers committed about 53 percent of nonfatal workplace violence against males and about 41 percent against females. Workplace violence was slightly less likely than nonworkplace violence to be reported to police. Victims of workplace violence (13 percent) were also less likely to be injured than victims of nonworkplace violence (29 percent). Firearms were present in about five percent of nonfatal workplace violence and about 10 percent of non-workplace violence.

Among homicides in the workplace between 2005 and 2009, persons employed in sales or office occupations accounted for a third of the victims (33 percent), followed by persons employed in protective service occupations (17 percent). Shootings accounted for about 80 percent of all workplace homicides.

Four out of five victims of workplace homicide were male. About 48 percent of workplace homicide victims were between the ages of 35 and 54. Non-Hispanic whites accounted for about half of all workplace homicide victims, while non-Hispanic blacks represented about a fifth and Hispanics, a sixth.

Between 2005 and 2009, 38 percent of workplace homicide offenders were robbers and 32 percent were other assailants. Work associates-including current and former co-workers, customers, and clients-accounted for about 21 percent of workplace homicide offenders. Spouses, relatives and other personal acquaintances accounted for about eight percent of offenders.

Findings in this report on nonfatal violence in the workplace are based on data from the BJS’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). Findings on fatal violence in the workplace are based on preliminary and final data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.|

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