NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 10, 2007

Nearly half the nation's murder victims in 2005 were black and the number is on the rise, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

The department's Bureau of Justice Statistics report offers a snapshot of racial disparities among violent crime victims:

  • Black people represented an estimated 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2005, the latest data available, but were the victims of 49 percent of all murders and 15 percent of rapes, assaults and other non-fatal violent crimes nationwide.
  • Most of the black murder victims -- 93 percent -- were killed by other black people, the study found.
  • Further, a majority of the black murder victims were relatively young -- between ages 17 and 29.

Overall, according to the Justice Department:

  • An estimated 16,400 people were murdered in the United States in 2005, down from a peak of 21,400 a decade ago.
  • Similarly, the number of black people slain dropped over the last 10 years, from 10,400 in 1995 to almost 8,000 in 2005.
  • But the murder rate among black men rose slightly between 2004 and 2005, continuing several years of dips and increases; two years ago, 6,783 black men were murdered, up from 6,342 in 2004.

The study did not take a detailed look at violent crime victims who are Hispanic or Latino, or other races.  However, it concluded that violent crime victims were more often black than any other race except American Indians.

Source: "Study: Rate of black men slain in U.S. rises," USA Today, August 10, 2007.

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