Murder

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Definition

The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program defines murder and nonnegligent manslaughter as the willful (nonnegligent) killing of one human being by another.

The classification of this offense is based solely on police investigation as opposed to the determination of a court, medical examiner, coroner, jury, or other judicial body. The UCR Program does not include the following situations in this offense classification: deaths caused by negligence, suicide, or accident; justifiable homicides; and attempts to murder or assaults to murder, which are scored as aggravated assaults.

Data collection

Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR)—The UCR Program’s SHR provides information regarding the age, sex, and race of the murder victim and the offender; the type of weapon used in the murder; the relationship of the victim to the offender; and the circumstance surrounding the incident. Law enforcement agencies are asked to complete an SHR for each murder it reports to the UCR Program. Data gleaned from these supplemental reports can be viewed in the Expanded Homicide Data section.

Justifiable homicide—Certain willful killings must be reported as justifiable, or excusable. In the UCR Program, justifiable homicide is defined as and limited to:

  • The killing of a felon by a peace officer in the line of duty.
  • The killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen.

Because these killings are determined through law enforcement investigation to be justifiable, they are tabulated separately from murder and nonnegligent manslaughter.

More information about justifiable homicide is furnished in the Expanded Homicide Data section and in Expanded Homicide Data Table 13, "Justifiable Homicide by Weapon, Law Enforcement, 2002-2006" and Expanded Homicide Data Table 14, "Justifiable Homicide by Weapon, Private Citizen, 2002-2006"

Overview

  • An estimated 17,034 persons were murdered nationwide in 2006, an increase of 1.8 percent from the 2005 estimate.
  • Murder comprised 1.2 percent of the overall estimated number of violent crimes in 2006. (Based on Table 1.)
  • There were an estimated 5.7 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • In 2006, an estimated 90.6 percent of the murders occurring in the Nation were within Metropolitan Statistical Areas. (Based on Table 2.)

Expanded murder data

Expanded offense data are details of the various offenses that the Program collects beyond the count of how many crimes law enforcement agencies report. These details may include the type of weapons used in a crime, type or value of items stolen, and so forth. In addition, expanded data include trends (for example, 2-year comparisons) and rates per 100,000 inhabitants.

Expanded information regarding murder is available in the following tables:
Trends (2-year): Tables 12, 13, and 14
Rates (per 100,000 inhabitants): Tables 16, 17, and 18
Expanded Homicide Data (information from the SHRs):
Victim data: Expanded Homicide Data Tables 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 12
Offender data: Expanded Homicide Data Tables 3, 4, and 5
Victim/offender relationship data: Expanded Homicide Data Tables 9
Circumstance data: Expanded Homicide Data Tables 9, 10, 11, and 12
Weapons data: Expanded Homicide Data Tables 6, 7, 8, 10, 13, 14, and Table 20

What you won't find on this page

  • Data regarding deaths caused by negligence, suicide, or accident; and attempts to murder or assault to murder, which are scored as aggravated assaults.
  • Clearance and arrest data for murder.