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Publication Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008

Alexia Cooper, Erica Smith

November 16, 2011    NCJ 236018

Presents findings from data on homicides that occurred in the United States from 1980 through 2008. It also includes overall homicide rates for 2009 and 2010. The report contains a series of tables and figures that describe homicide patterns and trends. This patterns and trends release analyzes homicide trends by age, sex, and race, including homicides of children under age 5 and of persons age 65 or older. It examines the relationship between the victim and the offender, particularly in cases of intimate and family homicide. Data include homicides involving multiple victims and offenders, circumstances surrounding the death, justifiable homicides, law enforcement officers killed, homicides cleared, and homicide trends by city size and weapon use. The data are primarily from the FBI's Supplementary Homicide Reports with summary data from the annual report, Crime in the United States, for 2009 and 2010.

Highlights:

  • In the last decade (since 2000) the homicide rate declined to levels last seen in the mid-1960s.
  • Based on data from 1980 and 2008, males represented 77% of homicide victims and nearly 90% of offenders. The victimization rate for males (11.6 per 100,000) was 3 times higher than the rate for females (3.4 per 100,000). The offending rate for males (15.1 per 100,000) was almost 9 times higher than the rate for females (1.7 per 100,000).
  • The average age of both offenders and victims increased slightly in recent years, yet remained lower than they were prior to the late 1980s.

Part of the Homicide Trends in the United States Series

Press Release
PDF (1M)
ASCII file (48K)
Spreadsheets (Zip format 76K)

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