First, always be wary of statistics. They can be made to sound as proof of whatever theory the user wants them to prove. For example, the word “homicide” covers many forms of unnatural death and is not limited to murder, however many people think that it is. Murder is defined as the unlawful taking of another’s life.
|According to FBI statistics, over 18,000 people were murdered in 1997. The 1997 figure was down 7 percent from 1996, and 26 percent from 1993.|
|According to data about 15,289 of the estimated 18,209 murders in 1997: 77 percent of the victims were males and 88 percent were persons 18 years of age or older. Forty-four percent were ages 20 through 34. The percentage of whites murdered was 48 percent, blacks 49 percent, and other races accounted for the remainder.|
|In 1997, according to supplemental data reported for 17,272 offenders, 90 percent of the offenders for whom sex, age, and race were reported were male, and 87 percent were persons 18 of age and older. Seventy percent were ages 17-34. Of offenders for whom race was known, 53 percent were black, 45 percent were white, and the remainder were persons of other races.|
|Data indicate that murder is most often intra-racial among victims and offenders. In 1997, data based on incidents involving one victim and one offender show that 94 percent of the black murder victims were slain by black offenders, and 85 percent of white murder victims were killed by white offenders.|
|According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, homicide rates recently declined to levels last seen before 1970. The homicide rate doubled from the mid 1960’s to the late 1970’s. In 1980, it peaked at 10.2 per 100,000 population and subsequently fell off to 7.9 per 100,000 in 1985. It rose again in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s to a peak of 9.8 per 100,000 in 1991. Since then, the rate has declined, reaching 6.8 per 100,000 by 1997. Also from the BJS:
Criminal Justice Data and Statistics
Justice Research and Statistics Association Bureau of Justice Statistics National Archive of Criminal Justice Data National Criminal Justice Reference Service The Crime Statistics Site Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics