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The Roundup

Murder, Mapped

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Posted 08.20.12

Between 2000 and 2010, 165,068 murders were committed in America (not counting Florida), and The Wall Street Journal has mapped them all in an interactive database, providing additional demographic and circumstantial information where available.

By combining FBI reports with voluntary state data, the WSJ painted as complete a picture as possible of the nature of murder in America. The database is searchable by state; sex, age, and/or race of the perpetrator or victim; relationship between the two; circumstance; and method. You can also compare any of those variables across states.

Image courtesy The Wall Street Journal.

Oklahoma saw 2,403 murders in the 10-year period. Fifty-seven percent of victims and 53 percent of killers were white; 31 percent of victims and 36 percent of killers were black. The majority of both victims and killers—55 percent and 67 percent, respectively—were between the ages of 18 and 39 and male—74 percent of victims and 89 percent of killers.

Because of the varying ways state police agencies report homicides to the FBI and voluntarily release additional information, the nature and circumstances of the killings aren’t always available. Of the 2,403 murders, 196 were deemed “justifiable homicides”—felons killed either by police or citizens during the commission of a crime, attempted arrest, in self-defense, etc. Of those not considered justifiable homicides, 883 were attributed to either “other arguments” or, simply, “other.”

The most common circumstances reported include robbery (213 murders), felon killed by police (125), argument over money or property (117), gangland killings (108), brawl due to influence of alcohol (99), and narcotic drug laws (98).

Thirty-seven murder victims were children killed by babysitters, 13 were the result of rape or another sex offense, three were by sniper attack, and two were the product of gambling. Eighty-seven were the result of a lover’s triangle.

In most cases (724), the relationship between the victims and killer was unknown; in 518, the two were acquaintances, and in 421 they were strangers. Firearms were used in 1,511 cases and knives in 345. The year 2002 saw the fewest murders, with 186, and 2007 saw the most, with 253.

All of Oklahoma’s statistics reflect national trends reported by WSJ, Nationwide, California experienced the most murders, with 26,371, and North Dakota had the fewest, with 86.

Holly Wall, News Editor