Weapon Use in Korean Homicide: Differences Between Homicides Involving Sharp and Blunt Instruments

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On the basis of information regarding 276 homicides committed in South Korea between 1987 and 2008, we compared offenders' and victims' characteristics, injury locations, weapon-related behavior, and offending behavior between homicides involving sharp and blunt instruments. The victims of sharp-force homicide were much younger relative to those of blunt-force homicide. In addition, homicides involving blunt instruments were more likely to be committed by offenders who lived with the victims. Most sharp-force homicides involved injuries to the torso, while blunt-force homicides involved mainly head injuries. Furthermore, perpetrators of sharp-force homicides tended to preselect their weapons, while those of blunt-force homicides were likely to use weapons of opportunity. Logistic regression analysis identified a number of factors, including injury location and body transportation, which significantly predicted weapon type. As this was the first South Korean study to compare sharp- and blunt-force homicides, the results have practical implications for homicide investigations.

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