The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program collects supplementary homicide data that provide the age, sex, race, and ethnicity of the murder victim and offender; the type of weapon used; the relationship of the victim to the offender; and the circumstance surrounding the incident. Statistics gleaned from these supplemental data are provided in this section.
This section also includes information about justifiable homicide—certain willful killings that 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. Justifiable homicide information can be found in Expanded Homicide Data Table 14, “Justifiable Homicide, by Weapon, Law Enforcement, 2011–2015” and Expanded Homicide Data Table 15, “Justifiable Homicide, by Weapon, Private Citizen, 2011–2015.”
- In 2015, most (78.8 percent) of the 13,455 murder victims for whom supplemental data were received were male. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 1.)
- Of the murder victims for whom race was known, 53.1 percent were Black or African American, 44.2 percent were White, and 2.8 percent were of other races. Race was unknown for 196 victims. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 2.)
- More than 45 percent (45.6) of all murders for which the UCR Program received supplemental data were single victim/single offender situations. (See Expanded Homicide Data Table 4.)
- Of the offenders for whom gender was known, 89.0 percent were male. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 3.)
- When the race of the offender was known, 53.3 percent were Black or African American, 44.0 percent were White, and 2.7 percent were of other races. The race was unknown for 4,787 offenders. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 3.)
- More than 71 percent (71.5) of the homicides for which the FBI received weapons data in 2015 involved the use of firearms. Handguns comprised 67.0 percent of the firearms used in murder and nonnegligent manslaughter incidents in 2015. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 8.)
- In 2015, more than 29 percent (29.2) of homicide victims were killed by someone they knew other than family members (acquaintance, neighbor, friend, boyfriend, etc.), 12.8 percent were slain by family members, and 10.2 percent were killed by strangers. The relationship between murder victims and offenders was unknown in 47.8 percent of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter incidents. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 10.)
- Circumstances were known for 60.1 percent of murders for which supplementary details were reported in 2015. Of those, 39.9 percent of victims were murdered during arguments and romantic triangles. Felony-type felony murders (i.e., murders that occurred in conjunction with the commission of another felony crime such as rape, robbery, burglary, etc.) accounted for 24.9 percent of homicides for which circumstances were known. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 11.)