Guns

Black Homicide Victimization in the United States

| by Violence Policy Center

Pennsylvania Leads Nation in Per
Capita Rate of Black Homicide Victimization

State's Black Homicide Rate
of 36.86 Per 100,000 is Nearly Seven Times National Overall Homicide Rate of
5.38 per 100,000

Washington, DC-- Pennsylvania leads the nation in the rate of black homicide victimization according to a new analysis of unpublished Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) data released today by the Violence Policy Center (VPC).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 2006 Homicide Data," uses 2006 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 third year that the VPC has issued the report and the second time in three years that Pennsylvania has topped the ranking.

The top five states with each state's corresponding black homicide victimization rate are:

1) Pennsylvania, 36.86 per 100,000
2) Michigan, 33.40 per 100,000
3) Indiana, 32.65 per 100,000
4) Kansas, 32.47 per 100,000
5) Nevada, 32.26 per 100,000

Josh Sugarmann, VPC executive director and study co-author states, "While Pennsylvania has the highest rate of black homicide victimization, this is a crisis that is devastating black teens and adults across our nation. The key role played by guns in black homicide victimization cannot be denied and must be addressed."

For PENNSYLVANIA, the study found that in 2006:

* There were 490 black homicide victims, resulting in a homicide rate of 36.86 per 100,000. Of these, 441 were male and 49 were female.

* For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 87 percent of black victims (414 out of 475) were killed with guns. Of these, 90 percent (372 victims) were known to be killed with handguns. There were 26 victims killed with firearms where the type of gun was not stated. There were 26 victims killed with knives or other cutting instruments, 17 victims killed by bodily force, and 8 victims killed by a blunt object.

* For homicides involving black victims for which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 85 percent of black victims (173 out of 204) were murdered by someone they knew. Thirty-one victims were killed by strangers.

* For homicides involving black victims for which the circumstances could be identified, 56 percent (166 out of 298) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these, 86 percent (143 homicides) involved arguments between the victim and the offender.

For the entire UNITED STATES, the study found that in 2006:

* There were 7,425 black homicide victims in the United States. Of these, 6,383 (86 percent) were male, and 1,041 (14 percent) were female. Gender was not recorded for 1 victim.

* The homicide rate for black victims in the United States was 20.27 per 100,000. In comparison, the overall national homicide rate was 5.38 per 100,000 and the national homicide rate for whites was 3.14 per 100,000.

* For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 82 percent of black victims (5,722 out of 6,942) were killed with guns. Of these, 79 percent (4,501 victims) were killed with handguns. There were 671 victims killed with knives or other cutting instruments, 258 victims killed by bodily force, and 175 victims killed by a blunt object.

* For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 74 percent of black victims (2,607 out of 3,502) were murdered by someone they knew. Eight hundred ninety-five victims were killed by strangers.

* For homicides involving black victims for which the circumstances could be identified, 69 percent (3,081 out of 4,490) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these, 56 percent (1,721 homicides) involved arguments between the victim and the offender. Twelve percent (377 homicides) were reported to be gang-related. Forty-four percent of these (167 homicides) were in California, which may be in part due to more comprehensive reporting. In California, 45 percent of non-felony related homicides were reported to be gang-related.

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The Violence Policy Center is a national
non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence in America
and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals. The Center
examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research on firearms
violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related death and injury.

For more information, please visit www.vpc.org.