Missouri Leads Nation in Per Capita Rate Of Black Homicide Victimization

For Release:  Tuesday, January 29, 2008

State’s Black Homicide Rate of 32.79 Per 100,000 is Six Times National Overall Homicide Rate of 5.10 Per 100,000

Washington, DC–Missouri leads the nation in the rate of black homicide victimization according to a new analysis of unpublished Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) data released today by the Violence Policy Center (VPC). The annual study, Black Homicide Victimization in the United States: An Analysis of 2005 Homicide Data, uses 2005 data–the most recent data available from the FBI–and ranks the 50 states according to their black homicide victimization rates. The study found overwhelmingly that firearms, usually handguns, were the weapon of choice in the homicides. This is the second year that the VPC has issued the report.

The top 10 states with each state’s corresponding black homicide victimization rate are: 1) Missouri, 32.79 per 100,000; 2) Pennsylvania, 32.14 per 100,000; 3) Wisconsin, 30.49 per 100,000; 4) Indiana, 28.70 per 100,000; 5) Michigan, 28.06 per 100,000; 6) California, 27.05 per 100,000; 7) Arkansas, 25.34 per 100,000; 8) Alaska, 24.87 per 100,000; 9) Nevada, 24.42 per 100,000; and, 10) Maryland, 24.16 per 100,000.

The study warns, “The devastation homicide inflicts on black teens and adults is a national crisis, yet it is all too often ignored outside of affected communities” and concludes, “Successful efforts to reduce America’s black homicide victimization toll must put a focus on reducing access to firearms.”

For MISSOURI, the study found that in 2005:

  • There were 229 black homicide victims, resulting in a homicide rate of 32.79 per 100,000. Of these, 198 were male and 31 were female.
  • For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 85 percent of black victims (189 out of 222) were killed with guns. Of these, 34 percent (65 victims) were known to be killed with handguns. There were 118 victims killed with firearms where the type of gun was not stated. There were 16 victims killed with knives or other cutting instruments, 1 victim killed by bodily force, and 13 victims killed by a blunt object.
  • For homicides involving black victims for which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 81 percent of black victims (63 out of 78) were murdered by someone they knew. Fifteen victims were killed by strangers.
  • For homicides involving black victims for which the circumstances could be identified, 60 percent (47 out of 78) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these, 89 percent (42 homicides) involved arguments between the victim and the offender.

For the entire UNITED STATES, the study found that in 2005:

  • There were 6,874 black homicide victims in the United States. Of these, 5,850 (85 percent) were male, and 1,023 (15 percent) were female. Gender was not recorded for 1 victim.
  • The homicide rate for black victims in the United States was 18.84 per 100,000. In comparison, the overall national homicide rate was 5.10 per 100,000 and the national homicide rate for whites was 2.99 per 100,000.
  • For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 81 percent of black victims (5,272 out of 6,527) were killed with guns. Of these, 76 percent (3,992 victims) were killed with handguns. There were 687 victims killed with knives or other cutting instruments, 278 victims killed by bodily force, and 189 victims killed by a blunt object.
  • In the top 10 states combined, for homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 84 percent of black victims (2,168 out of 2,575) were killed with guns.
  • For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 77 percent of black victims (2,321 out of 3,032) were murdered by someone they knew. Seven hundred and eleven victims were killed by strangers.
  • For homicides involving black victims for which the circumstances could be identified, 75 percent (2,841 out of 3,766) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these, 60 percent (1,692 homicides) involved arguments between the victim and the offender. Eleven percent (322 homicides) were reported to be gang-related. Half of these (161 homicides) were in California, which may be in part due to more comprehensive reporting.

 

 

 

About the Violence Policy Center
The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Media Contact:
Felicia Feingersch
(202) 822-8200 x104
ffeingersch@vpc.org