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Homicide Trends in the United States

NCJ Number
Date Published
56 pages
This publication contains a series of charts that describe homicide patterns and trends in the United States since 1976.
Homicide is of interest not only because of its severity but also because it is a fairly reliable barometer of all violent crime. The data indicate homicide rates have recently declined, although the rise in youth involvement in homicide as both victims and offenders has been dramatic. Males are most often the victims and the perpetrators in homicides, and blacks are disproportionately represented among homicide victims and offenders. The number of homicides involving children under 5 years of age has increased over the past two decades but has declined recently. The number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty has declined since the early 1970s, few homicides involve multiple offenders and even fewer involve multiple victims, the mix of circumstances surrounding homicides has changed over the past two decades, and homicides are most often committed by guns. Southern regions of the United States have had historically higher homicide rates than other regions. Changes in homicide trends have been driven by changes in homicide rates in the largest U.S. cities, and the percentage of homicides cleared by arrest has been declining. Tables and figures

Date Published: January 1, 1998