Black Women Murdered by Men are Most Often Killed with a Gun, Almost Always by Someone They Know, According to New VPC Study Released Each Year for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

For Release: Tuesday, September 20, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC–Black females murdered by men are most often killed with a gun, almost always by someone they know, according to the new Violence Policy Center (VPC) report “When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2009 Homicide Data” (http://vpc.org/studies/wmmw2011.pdf). The annual VPC report details national and state-by-state information on female homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender. The study uses the most recent data available from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s unpublished Supplementary Homicide Report and is released each year to coincide with Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. According to the study:

  • In 2009, 497 black females were murdered by males in single victim/single offender homicides. Black females were murdered at a rate nearly two and a half times higher than white females: 2.62 per 100,000 versus 1.06 per 100,000. Ten percent of black female victims were less than 18 years old.
  • Firearms–especially handguns–were the most common weapon used by males to murder black females in 2009. For the 451 homicides where the murder weapon could be identified, 59 percent of black female victims (264 victims) were shot and killed with guns. Of these, 76 percent (201 of 264) were killed with a handgun.
  • Where the relationship could be determined, 92 percent of black females killed by males in single victim/single offender incidents knew their killers (406 of 442). Eleven times as many black females were murdered by a male they knew (406 victims) than were killed by male strangers (36 victims) in single victim/single offender incidents in 2009.
  • The number of black females shot and killed by their husband or intimate acquaintance (140 victims) was nearly four times as high as the total number murdered by male strangers using all weapons combined (36 victims) in single victim/single offender incidents in 2009.
  • The overwhelming majority of homicides of black females by male offenders in single victim/single offender incidents in 2009 were not related to any other felony crime. Most often, black females were killed by males in the course of an argument–most commonly with a firearm. In 2009, for the 392 homicides in which the circumstances between the black female victim and the male killer could be identified, 90 percent (353 out of 392) were not related to the commission of any other felony.

VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “Violence against women too often escalates to homicide. Prevention of such violence deserves serious and sustained attention from law enforcement officials and policymakers alike.”

The study also ranks each state by its rate of total female homicide for females of all races involving one female murder victim and one male offender. Nevada, with a rate of 2.70 per 100,000, ranked first in the nation in the rate of women killed by men. Ranked behind Nevada were: Alabama at 2 with a rate of 2.64 per 100,000; Louisiana at 3 with a rate of 1.99 per 100,000; Arizona at 4 with a rate of 1.92 per 100,000; Tennessee at 5 with a rate of 1.83 per 100,000; Georgia at 6 with a rate of 1.80 per 100,000; South Carolina at 7 with a rate of 1.79 per 100,000; South Dakota at 8 (tie) with a rate of 1.72 per 100,000; Hawaii at 8 (tie) with a rate of 1.72 per 100,000; and, Missouri at 10 with a rate of 1.70 per 100,000. Nationally, the rate of women killed by men in single victim/single offender instances was 1.25 per 100,000.

 

 

 

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