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Estimating the Global Prevalence of Mass Public Shootings

NCJ Number
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology Volume: Online Dated: 2022
Date Published

This article discusses the authors’ examination of the prevalence of U.S. mass shootings, in a global context, from 1976 to 2012.


Previous studies have yielded widely divergent conclusions about the percentage of all mass public shootings globally that take place in the U.S., ranging from a low of three percent to a high of 36 percent. Because of documented underreporting of lower-severity attacks involving fewer than 10 victim fatalities in US cases in these studies, it is reasonable to assume that this underreporting issue also applies to their measurement of mass public shootings outside the US. In their research, to estimate the total number of mass public shootings worldwide, the authors used multiple assumptions and modeling approaches, including a hierarchical Bayesian model. Their estimates showed the U.S. accounted for anywhere between 16 percent and 26 percent of the world’s mass public shootings during the 1976 to 2012 period. These estimates suggest that the U.S. share of the total is between four and six times higher than its four percent share of the world’s population. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2022