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Stranger Homicides in Nine American Cities

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Volume: 78 Issue: 2 Dated: (Summer 1987) Pages: 377-397
Date Published
21 pages
This article first describes different types of homicide in terms of victim and offender characteristics, location, method of attack, and the presence of witnesses, and it then analyzes types of homicide according to interactions among age, sex, and race.
Data were obtained from a study of nine selected cities; Philadelphia and Newark in the Northeast; Chicago and St. Louis in the Midwest; Memphis and Dallas in the South; and Oakland, San Jose, and Ashton in the West. In each of the cities, police and medical examiner departments supplied records for all homicide cases in 1978 (1,748 cases). Of the 1,373 cases with known victim-offender relationships, 18 percent were within the family, 54 percent were between friends and acquaintances, 16 percent were stranger felonies, and 12 percent were stranger nonfelonies. Data on the characteristics of homicide types cover gender, race, racial homogeneity, age, location, witnesses, and assault method. The study shows clear differences between types of homicide on the selected variables and demonstrates that the general category of stranger homicide, often used in homicide research, is too heterogeneous and needs to be subdivided. 18 tables and 44 footnotes.

Date Published: January 1, 1987