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, 2013–2017” and Expanded Homicide Data Table 15, “Justifiable Homicide, by Weapon, Private Citizen, 2013–2017.”
- In 2017, most (78.4 percent) of the 15,129 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, 51.9 percent were Black or African American, 43.5 percent were White, and 3.0 percent were of other races. Race was unknown for 243 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, 88.1 percent were male. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 3.)
- When the race of the offender was known, 54.2 percent were Black or African American, 43.1 percent were White, and 2.6 percent were of other races. The race was unknown for 5,368 offenders. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 3.)
- More than 72 percent (72.6) of the homicides for which the FBI received weapons data in 2017 involved the use of firearms. Handguns comprised 64.0 percent of the firearms used in murder and nonnegligent manslaughter incidents in 2017.(Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 8.)
- In 2017, 28.0 percent of homicide victims were killed by someone they knew other than family members (acquaintance, neighbor, friend, boyfriend, etc.), 12.3 percent were slain by family members, and 9.7 percent were killed by strangers. The relationship between murder victims and offenders was unknown in 50.0 percent of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter incidents. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 10.)
- Circumstances were known for 59.8 percent of murders for which supplementary details were reported in 2017. Of those, 39.0 percent of victims were murdered during arguments and romantic triangles. Felony-type murders (i.e., murders that occurred in conjunction with the commission of another felony crime such as rape, robbery, burglary, etc.) accounted for 24.7 percent of homicides for which circumstances were known. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 11.)
- Law enforcement reported 782 justifiable homicides in 2017. Of those, law enforcement officers justifiably killed 429 felons, and private citizens justifiably killed 353 people during the commission of crimes. (See Expanded Homicide Data Tables 14 and 15.)
Expanded Homicide Data Figure
Murder by relationship figure:
In this figure, bar graphs and a pie chart visually represent the relationships of murder victims to their offenders. The statistics are based on the supplementary homicide data that law enforcement agencies submitted to the FBI for 15,129 murder victims who were slain in 2017.
Of the homicides that occurred in 2017 for which supplementary homicide data were received, the relationships of the murder victims to their offenders were as follows: 1,867 victims (12.3 percent) were slain by family members; 1,469 victims (9.7 percent) were murdered by strangers; and 4,236 victims (28.0 percent) were slain by “other known” offenders. The offenders were not known for 7,557 murder victims (50.0 percent).
The first bar graph provides a breakdown of the 1,867 familial relationships of victims to offenders based on supplementary homicide data from 2017: 110 husbands were killed by their wives, 549 wives were slain by their husbands, 169 mothers were murdered by their children, 186 fathers were killed by their children, 253 sons were slain by their parents, 179 daughters were murdered by their parents, 98 brothers were killed by their siblings, 27 sisters were slain by their siblings, and 296 victims were murdered by other family members (i.e., familial relationships other than those mentioned above).
A second bar graph depicts the 4,236 “other known” (that is, nonfamilial) relationships of victims to offenders based on supplementary homicide data from 2017: 2,999 victims were killed by acquaintances, 431 were slain by friends, 181 boyfriends were murdered by their girlfriends, 488 girlfriends were killed by their boyfriends, 114 victims were slain by their neighbors, 17 employees were murdered by their employers, and 6 employers were killed by their employees.
The following tables were compiled using information from the Supplementary Homicide Data:
Expanded Homicide Data Table 1
Expanded Homicide Data Table 2
Expanded Homicide Data Table 3
Expanded Homicide Data Table 4
Expanded Homicide Data Table 5
Expanded Homicide Data Table 6
Expanded Homicide Data Table 7
Expanded Homicide Data Table 8
Expanded Homicide Data Table 9
Expanded Homicide Data Table 10
Expanded Homicide Data Table 11
Expanded Homicide Data Table 12
Expanded Homicide Data Table 13
Expanded Homicide Data Table 14
Expanded Homicide Data Table 15