How Do Criminals Use Knives?

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Knife crime statistics

Knife crime statistics

Editor’s note: Knives are first and foremost tools that offer tremendous utility for making everyday life easier. However, a few unsavory elements of society misuse these tools for criminal purposes. Because of the frequency of the topic in conversations inside the knife community, BLADE is bringing you this glimpse at that type of behavior as a means to better inform our audience. Remember: the intent of the person using the knife is always more significant than the knife itself.

How Do Criminals Use Knives In Attacks?

An associate of mine, Travis Roesler of Fight Smart, recently studied more than 200 real attacks criminals made with knives that were caught on CCTV security cameras from around the world. Here’s we learned.

How Criminals Use Knives: The Percentages

Roesler came up with the following statistics:


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  • As would be expected, around 90% of the criminals were right handed (which coincides with the percentage of the dominant hand of the populace).
  • The most common attack was a straight stab with the right hand accompanied by a collar or clothing grab with the left hand (40%)
  • The second most common attack was a non-augmented straight, right-handed stab (25%)
  • Straight stabs were used in 65% of the attacks
  • The third most common attack (24%) was an overhead stab, with the knife in a reverse, or “icepick” grip
  • The fourth most common attack was a downward diagonal slash from the right (10%)
  • Backhands came in at less than 2%
  • 55% of criminals wore sleeves

In other words, attackers simply do not behave the way that traditional training has suggested that they act. Because of this evidence, training to defend oneself against a knife attack is now within reach of the common person.

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