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Posted by Edmund R. Folsom

September 30, 2016

U.S. Race & Homicide Numbers


The recent article in U.S. News & World Report, “Race and Homicide in America, by the Numbers,”*  addresses inter-racial and intra-racial homicide statistics recently released by the FBI in its report “2015- Crime in the United States.”  The U.S. News article is full of political spin, but the numbers are in there, and the numbers speak for themselves.  One detail the article leaves out is the actual  increase in the number of murders and non-negligent manslaughters from 2014 to 2015.  Table 12 of the FBI report** shows an 11.8% increase, with the overall number rising from 13,594 to 15,192.   Although the U.S. News article claims that the increase in homicides from 2014 to 2015 is “largely driven by street violence in Chicago, Baltimore and the nation’s capital,” Table 12 of the FBI report shows increases across the board in cities large, medium and small, as well as in suburban and rural areas.

But homicide and race is the hot topic of the day, and the numbers paint an ugly picture.   As the U.S. News Article points out, the FBI lacks complete information on the race of the perpetrator for many of the 2015 homicides.  Also, the most detailed FBI statistics on white and black inter and intra-racial homicides only include one-on-one (versus multiple) homicides.  Those limitations leave us with race-on-race information for roughly only 6,000 of the total homicides.  Still, the FBI did have information on the race of 13,455 homicide victims, and of those 7,039 were black.  That means that of all 2015 homicide victims whose race is known to FBI record keepers, over half -52.3%- were black.  Here, it is interesting to note that the 2015 census pegs blacks at 13.3% of the U.S. population, and whites at 77%.

What was the race of the perpetrator in all those murders and non-negligent manslaughters of black people?  Again, we only have numbers for one-on-one homicides, and there are a lot of homicides for which the FBI does not know the perpetrator’s race.  But of the roughly 6,000 homicides for which the FBI does have race-on-race information, 500 involved whites who were killed by blacks and 229 involved blacks who were killed by whites.  Overwhelmingly, black homicide victims are killed by black perpetrators and white homicide victims are killed by white perpetrators.  Of the 2,664 black victims of one-on-one homicide in which the perpetrator’s race is known, 2,380 -89.3%- were killed by another black person.  Of the 3,167 white victims of one-on-one homicide in which the perpetrator’s race is known, 2,574 – 81.2%- were killed by another white person.***

The bottom line:  Homicides were up 11.8% in 2015, and more than half of all murder and non-negligent manslaughter victims were blacks who, from all that appears, were overwhelmingly killed by other blacks.  As for one-on-one homicides in which the race of both the perpetrator and victim is known, 81% of whites were killed by other whites and nearly 90% of blacks were killed by other blacks.  Such are the numbers– for real.