17 November 2011

U.S. Homicide Rate At Record Lows Despite Great Recession

The current homicide rate is around the levels it was at in the 1950s and 1960s.

[T]he United States' homicide rate fell to 4.8 homicides per 100,000 U.S. residents in 2010, its lowest level in four decades.

Much of the decline was in the nation’s largest cities, those with a population of one million or more, where the homicide rate dropped dramatically from 35.5 homicides per 100,000 residents in 1991 to a low of 11.9 per 100,000 in 2008.

The sharp increase in homicides from the mid-1980s through the early 1990s, and much of the subsequent decline, is attributable to gun violence by teens (age 14 to 17) and young adults (age 18 to 24). . . . the number of gun homicides committed by teens and young adults in 2008 remained similar to the counts of the mid-1980s. . . .

From 1980 through 2008, 84 percent of white homicide victims were murdered by whites and 93 percent of black victims were murdered by blacks. . . . Blacks were six times more likely than whites to be homicide victims and seven times more likely than whites to commit homicide.

The number of homicides known to involve adult or juvenile gang violence has quadrupled since 1980, increasing from about 220 homicides in 1980 to 960 homicides in 2008. From 1980 to 2008, gang violence increased from one percent to six percent of all homicides. During this same period, gun involvement in gang-related homicides increased from 73 percent to 92 percent....

In 2008 . . . [a]mong female murder victims for whom the victim/offender relationships were known, 45.3 percent were killed by an intimate whereas only 4.9 percent of male homicide victims were killed by an intimate....

Most homicide victims under age 5 were killed by a parent. In 2008, 59% of young child homicide victims were killed by a parent, 10% were killed by some other family member and 30% were murdered by a friend or acquaintance.

From here.

There are 56 law enforcement officers murdered in 2008, nearly half the 104 that were killed in 1980.

Of the 587 assailants identi fied in the killing of law enforcement officers from 2001 through 2010—
* 64% had a prior conviction
* 82% had a prior arrest for any type of crime; 43% had a prior
arrest for a crime of violence.

About 90% of homicides are committed by men.

There were a little under 390 "justifiable homicides" by police and about 240 by other citizens in 2008 for a total of 630. In 1980, there were more than 450 of each type of justifiable homicide.

A little under 3.7% of homicides have two victims, a little under 1% have three or more victims.

About 64% of homicide cases are solved, a higher percentage than for any other kind of crime.


Meng Bomin said...

Despite might be the wrong word here. If I recall correctly, crime also went down during the Great Depression. I can't think of an intuitive explanation off hand, but I do think that any theory of crime that's to be taken seriously has to grapple with the fact that recessions aren't crime-drivers.

Ivana Fulli MD said...

Dear Andrews,
First, I was joking stating in answer to you recently in a Brit blog that I want to ask political asylium in the USA.
I am too disgust with your academic and non academic psychiatrists as a whole to think about that and unfortunately France and Italy are part of the political federal state of Europe like Germany and GB!
To my point in answer to your post on your blog:
Some published datas and lectures in psychiatric meetings suggest that people might be suffering less mental illness symptoms in time of war or difficult economic conditions like war in Lebanon or Germany unification process.
We could and should learn from intelligent psychiatrists from developing countries and I was ashamed when I heard a Moroccan professor of Psychiatry at the French Psychiatrist association meeting in Nice in 2009 say that he and Indians academics have warned for decades the WHO World Health Organization that cannabis was schizophrenia-inducing. The Lebanese may have something to teach us about the effect of war on mental health records for what I heard but of course providing the methodology is sound .
And I am not saying that the German should not be heard as they deserve when they have nice studies to be read and heard about suicidal rate and economical depression: they have a wonderful open air laboratory with their reunification plus hard working and rigorous academics-those not on the payroll of Big Pharma that is.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

@Meng Bomin

Agreed. The "despite" is in reference to popular belief, not criminological evidence. If there is a recession effect, it is probably long fused via the kids were suffer poverty then and as a result have criminality when they grow up.

@Ivana Fulli

Whatever. Totally off topic, but not commercial spam, so I'll leave it.