Homicide Rate Reaches a 40 Year Low
The homicide rate in America dropped to a rate of 4.8 homicides for each 100,000 residents during 2010. This is the lowest level recorded in 40 years according to the research released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics recently. Most of the decline occurred around and in the biggest cities in the country. Cities with populations over one million saw a drop from 35 homicides during 1991 per 100,000 people to 11.9 murders per 100,000 during 2008. The drastic increase that was seen during the 80s and 90s was mainly caused by higher incidences of gun use by young adults and teens.
The murders occurring since 1980 have been mostly intraracial, which 84 percent of Caucasian victims being killed by other white people and 93 percent of African American victims murdered by people within their race. However, African Americans did represent a higher percentage of total homicide victims, with a black person being six times as likely as other ethnic groups to be a victim of murder. Gang violence also account for far more homicides than in 1980, with 960 crimes in 2008 being motivated by gang affiliation. Gun usage during these homicides, rather than knives or blunt weapons, also rose to 92 percent by 2008.
Certain groups of people are at a higher risk for homicide from a specific association they’ve made. Juvenile homicide victims were much more likely to be murdered by a family member or during a sex-related assault. Nearly 25 percent of the gang-related murders in the years between 1980 and 2008 involved victims under 18. Female victims were also more likely to be killed by a significant other or dating partner than a stranger, with 45 percent of female homicides involving a close person while only 5 percent of males were murdered by a partner.