Murder Statistics

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.

bullet 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.
bullet 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.
bullet 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.
bullet 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.
bullet 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:

bullet Homicides are more likely to involve multiple offenders than multiple victims
bullet The percentage of homicides involving multiple offenders increased dramatically in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, increasing from 10% in 1976 to 16% in 1997
bullet The percentage of homicides involving multiple victims increased gradually during the last two decades from just under 3% of all homicides to 4%



Criminal Justice Data and Statistics


bullet Justice Research and Statistics Association
bullet Bureau of Justice Statistics
bullet National Archive of Criminal Justice Data
bullet National Criminal Justice Reference Service
bullet The Crime Statistics Site
bullet Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics