There are two types of assaults: simple assault and aggravated assault. You have probably heard the term aggravated assault frequently on the news. Aggravated assaults are fairly common; according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in 2017 aggravated assaults occurred at a rate of 248.9 per 100,000 people, for a total of 810,825 incidents. A simple assault is a threat to do harm to another person. However, if one person attacks another for the purpose of inflicting a severe bodily injury, that is an aggravated assault.
Often, though not always, an aggravated assault involves the use of a weapon, especially one that could potentially cause grievous bodily harm or even death. Firearms were the weapon of choice in 26.3% of all aggravated assaults in the U.S. in 2017, while cutting instruments such as knives figured in 17.2% of such attacks. Approximately 25% involved the use of feet, hands or fists grouped together as personal weapons, while 31.1% involved other types of weapon not otherwise specified.
Aggravated assault does not necessarily occur in isolation. It may occur in combination with a theft. If this is the case, the two offenses combine under the category of robbery. On the other hand, attempted aggravated assault falls into the same category as aggravated assault because of the threat of severe personal injury. Attempting aggravated assault involves threatening someone with a weapon or brandishing or otherwise displaying it with the intent to intimidate the other person.
The incidence of aggravated assault in the United States in 2017 was down compared to 2008 but had increased slightly compared to the previous year of 2016.