2014

Pennsylvania Leads Nation in Per Capita Rate of Black Homicide Victimization

State's Black Homicide Victimization Rate of 36.36 Per 100,000 is Nearly Seven Times National Overall Homicide Rate of 5.30 per 100,000

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania leads the nation in the rate of black homicide victimization according to a new analysis of unpublished Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) data released today by the Violence Policy Center (VPC).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 2007 Homicide Data," (http://www.vpc.org/studies/blackhomicide10.pdf) uses 2007 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 fourth year that the VPC has issued the report and the third time in four years that Pennsylvania has topped the ranking.

The top five states with each state's corresponding black homicide victimization rate are: 1) Pennsylvania, 36.36 per 100,000; 2) Missouri, 34.82 per 100,000; 3) Indiana, 30.89 per 100,000; 4 (tie) Nevada, 29.83 per 100,000; and, 4 (tie) Wisconsin, 29.83 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 long-ignored crisis that is devastating black teens and adults across our nation."

For PENNSYLVANIA, the study found that in 2007:

  • There were 485 black homicide victims, resulting in a homicide rate of 36.36 per 100,000. Of these, 440 were male and 45 were female.
  • For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 86 percent of black victims (402 out of 467) were killed with guns. Of these, 87 percent (349 victims) were known to be killed with handguns. There were 39 victims killed with firearms where the type of gun was not stated. There were 38 victims killed with knives or other cutting instruments, 12 victims killed by bodily force, and 7 victims killed by a blunt object.
  • For homicides involving black victims for which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 79 percent of black victims (166 out of 210) were murdered by someone they knew. Forty-four victims were killed by strangers.
  • For homicides involving black victims for which the circumstances could be identified, 51 percent (171 out of 333) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these, 85 percent (145 homicides) involved arguments between the victim and the offender.

For the entire UNITED STATES, the study found that in 2007:

  • There were 7,387 black homicide victims in the United States. Of these, 6,345 (86 percent) were male, and 1,042 (14 percent) were female.
  • The homicide rate for black victims in the United States was 20.86 per 100,000. In comparison, the overall national homicide rate was 5.30 per 100,000 and the national homicide rate for whites was 3.11 per 100,000.
  • For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 82 percent of black victims (5,743 out of 7,011) were killed with guns. Of these, 73 percent (4,204 victims) were killed with handguns. There were 701 victims killed with knives or other cutting instruments, 247 victims killed by bodily force, and 200 victims killed by a blunt object.
  • For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 72 percent of black victims (2,474 out of 3,431) were murdered by someone they knew. Nine hundred fifty-seven victims were killed by strangers.
  • For homicides involving black victims for which the circumstances could be identified, 69 percent (3,023 out of 4,362) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these, 55 percent (1,669 homicides) involved arguments between the victim and the offender. Ten percent (294 homicides) were reported to be gang-related. Forty-four percent of gang-related homicides (128 homicides) were in California, which may be in part due to more comprehensive reporting. In California, 44 percent of non-felony related homicides were reported to be gang-related.

The Violence Policy Center (www.vpc.org) is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury.

Contact:  Mandy Wimmer, Communications Associate, 202-822-8200 x110, mwimmer@vpc.org

SOURCE Violence Policy Center



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