To the Editor.
—As a former police officer and executive director of an organization representing law enforcement personnel and crime victims, I was surprised that Dr Kellermann and his colleagues1 used police reports to study the problem of home invasion—burglary of an occupied residence.Their methods suggest that the results of this study cannot contribute any new data to our knowledge of the nature of such crimes or to effective means of protecting one's self or family from them.First, the greatest utility of police reports is in helping police departments allocate limited resources to deal with often unlimited need. These reports provide useful information in investigating crimes, but are not designed and are not intended to provide statistically sound information on the nature of crimes, such as break-ins. Only coincidentally are some data on the reports, such as method of entry, of possible narrow help in surveys such
Fotis JJ. Weapons for Protection in Home Invasion Crimes. JAMA. 1996;275(4):281. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530280032031