Murder Facts

by | Mar 29, 2019


How likely is it that you’ll be murdered? There are a lot of facts and circumstances that vary that may determine that, so broad averages may not be applicable. However, we can look at statistics for murder in the U.S. which can provide some facts and averages that are quite interesting. The odds say you won’t be murdered, but if you are it will likely be by a male you know, who is of your same race, and with a gun.

Victims and Offenders

According to the FBI, 15,129 people in America were murdered in 2017.

  • 78% of murder victims were male and 22% female
  • 52% were African-American (blacks make up 13.4% of the population)
  • 43% were white (comprising 76.6% of the population)
  • 54.3% were killed by someone they knew (acquaintance, neighbor, friend, boyfriend, etc.); 24.8% of victims were slain by family members.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 55% of murders of females were carried out by a current or former romantic partner.

In terms of race, whites tend to kill whites and blacks tend to kill blacks as 80% of white victims were killed by a white offender and 88% of black victims were killed by a black offender.

Only 12% of the offenders were female.

Police kill over 1,000 people each year or about 3 people per day – almost all male. Those killings are not included in the 15,129 figure.

Weapons used to commit homicides


Does the Weather Affect the Murder Rate?

Yes. According to data analysis by The New York Times, the murder rate increases with the outside temperature. See chart below of summary data.


Why might hotter temperatures lead to more murders? Mostly because people are outside and interacting more. A study in Philadelphia found that hot weather does not affect the rate of indoor murders but does correlate with an increase in outdoor murders.

How Often are Killers Caught?

About 40% of murders do not result in an arrest. Of the 60% arrested, not all are convicted – the conviction rates for murder charges in the U.S. is about 70%.


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