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January 24, 1996

Weapons for Protection in Home Invasion Crimes-Reply

Author Affiliations

Emory Center for Injury Control Atlanta, Ga

JAMA. 1996;275(4):281. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530280032032

In Reply.  —We used Atlanta Police Department offense reports to analyze 198 episodes of unwanted entry into occupied homes. We found that a firearm was used for self-protection in only a small minority of cases (1.5%). Indeed, the intruder got to the homeowner's gun more often than the homeowner did (six cases vs three). We cautioned that these results should be considered preliminary, and we recommended further research to determine whether similar circumstances and outcomes occur in other types of housing and in other communities.Mr Fotis suggests that police offense reports are an unreliable source of information about key events surrounding home invasion crimes. I disagree. Offense reports are legal documents used to guide criminal investigations and subsequent prosecution.Both Fotis and Dr Suter are critical of the fact that our study was restricted to single-family dwellings. More than 62 million Americans (25% of the US population) live in