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The Reality of "Workplace Homicides"

Friday, August 26, 2005

"The circumstances of workplace homicides differ substantially from those portrayed by the media and from homicides in the general population. For the most part, workplace homicides are not the result of disgruntled workers who take out their frustrations on co-workers or supervisors, or of intimate partners and other relatives who killed loved ones in the course of a dispute; rather, they are mostly robbery-related crimes."

--National Institute for Occupational Safety And Health

  • Studies conducted by both the U.S. Department of Labor and the Bureau of Justice Statistics show that between 75 and 82% of workplace homicides occur in connection with a robbery, such as the hold-up of a pizza delivery driver. These involve perpetrators with no legitimate relationship to the business or its employees.
  • Robbery-related homicides in the workplace are eight times more frequent than those involving fellow employees.
  • Workplace policies prohibiting firearms possession by employees are no deterrent to an armed robber who brings a firearm (or any kind of weapon) to commit a violent crime.
  • For workplace homicides in private industry, the taxicab industry has the highest risk--nearly 60 times the national average rate. The taxicab industry is followed by liquor stores, detective/protective services, gas service stations and jewelry stores.
  • The occupations with the highest homicide rates are taxicab drivers/chauffeurs, sheriffs/bailiffs, police and detectives/public service, gas station/garage workers and security guards.
  • Some corporate opponents (like Weyerhaeuser) of lawful firearm possession have promoted outdated or grossly inflated workplace homicide figures, claiming almost double the actual numbers reported by the Department of Labor.
  • The American workplace is very safe. With nearly 150 million people working on America's roads and waters, and in its fields, offices and factories, there were 5,703 workplace deaths in 2004, and fewer than 10% of those (551) were homicides.
  • As of 2004, workplace homicides had declined 49% from their all-time high in 1994. Workplace homicides declined faster than homicide in general during that period, and accounted for less than 4% of all homicides in 2003, based on the most recent figures from the Department of Labor and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • 84% of workplace homicides are committed by strangers, compared to 12.5% of all homicides nationally, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the FBI.
  • An oft-quoted "study" purported to find more homicides in workplaces that allow employees to possess firearms. However, the same researchers also found more homicides in workplaces having video cameras, yet they did not suggest the presence of video cameras increases the risk of homicide. Common sense says cameras are installed in workplaces already at high risk, just as employees in high risk workplaces may reasonably possess firearms for self-protection.
  • Common sense is backed by sound research: as award-winning criminologist Gary Kleck has noted, links between levels of violence and gun ownership "appear to be primarily due to violence increasing gun ownership, rather than the reverse. "
  • Employer policies that forbid firearms put employees who are at most risk from robbery--such as cab drivers and retail clerks--at greater risk by denying them the ability to defend themselves.
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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.