Murder

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The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program defines murder and nonnegligent manslaughter as the willful (nonnegligent) killing of one human being by another.

The classification of this offense is based solely on police investigation as opposed to the determination of a court, medical examiner, coroner, jury, or other judicial body. The UCR Program does not include the following situations in this offense classification:  deaths caused by negligence, suicide, or accident; justifiable homicides; and attempts to murder or assaults to murder, which are scored as aggravated assaults.

Data collection     

Supplementary Homicide Data—The UCR Program’s supplementary homicide data provide information regarding the age, sex, and race of the murder victim and the offender; the type of weapon used; the relationship of the victim to the offender; and the circumstance surrounding the incident. Law enforcement agencies are asked—but not required—to provide complete supplementary homicide data for each murder they report to the UCR Program. Information gleaned from these supplementary homicide data can be viewed in the Expanded Homicide Data section.

Justifiable homicide—Certain willful killings must be reported as justifiable or excusable. In the UCR Program, justifiable homicide is defined as and limited to:

  • The killing of a felon by a peace officer in the line of duty.
  • The killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen.

 

Because these killings are determined through law enforcement investigation to be justifiable, they are tabulated separately from murder and nonnegligent manslaughter.

More information about justifiable homicide is furnished in the Expanded Homicide Data section and in Expanded Homicide Data Table 14, “Justifiable Homicide by Weapon, Law Enforcement, 2008–2012,” and Expanded Homicide Data Table 15, “Justifiable Homicide by Weapon, Private Citizen, 2008–2012.”

Overview     

  • In 2012, an estimated 14,827 persons were murdered in the United States. This was a 1.1 percent increase from the 2011 estimate, but a 9.9 percent decrease from the 2008 figure, and a 10.3 percent drop from the number in 2003.
  • There were 4.7 murders per 100,000 people. The murder rate rose 0.4 percent in 2012 compared with the 2011 rate. The murder rate was down from the rates in 2008 (12.8 percent decline) and 2003 (16.9 percent drop). (See Tables 1 and 1A.)
  • Of the estimated murders in the United States, 43.6 percent were reported in the South, 21.1 percent were reported in the Midwest, 21.0 percent were reported in the West, and 14.2 percent were reported in the Northeast. (See Table 3.)

Expanded murder data

UCR expanded offense data are details of the various offenses that the UCR Program collects beyond the count of how many crimes law enforcement agencies report. These details may include the type of weapon used in a crime, type or value of items stolen, and so forth. In addition, expanded data include trends (for example, 2-year comparisons) and rates per 100,000 inhabitants.

Expanded information regarding murder is available in the following tables:

Trends (2-year):  Tables 12, 13, and 14

Rates (per 100,000 inhabitants):  Tables 16, 17, and 18

Expanded Homicide Data (supplementary homicide information):

Victim data:  Expanded Homicide Data Tables 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, and 13

Offender data:  Expanded Homicide Data Tables 3, 5, and 6

Victim/offender relationship data:  Expanded Homicide Data Table 10

Circumstance data:  Expanded Homicide Data Tables 10, 11, 12, and 13

Weapons data:  Expanded Homicide Data Tables 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, 15, and 20

What you won't find on this page

Clearance and arrest data for murder.