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September 25, 2008
11:12 AM

CONTACT: Violence Policy Center

Mandy Wimmer, 202-822-8200 x110,

Black Women Murdered by Men are Most Often Killed with a Gun, Almost Always by Someone They Know, According to New VPC Study Rel

WASHINGTON - September 25 - Black women murdered by men are most often killed with a gun, almost always by someone they know, according to new the Violence Policy Center (VPC) report When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2006 Homicide Data. The annual VPC report details national and state-by-state information on female homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender. The study uses the most recent data available from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's unpublished Supplementary Homicide Report and is released each year to coincide with Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. According to the study:

  • In 2006, 551 black females were murdered by males in single victim/single offender homicides. Black women were murdered at a rate nearly three times higher than white women: 2.70 per 100,000 versus 1.00 per 100,000. Twelve percent of black female victims were less than 18 years old.
  • Firearms--especially handguns--were the most common weapon used by males to murder black females in 2006. For the 515 homicides where the murder weapon could be identified, 59 percent of black female victims (305 victims) were shot and killed with guns. Of these, 77 percent (236 of 305) were killed with a handgun.
  • Where the relationship could be determined, 90 percent of black females killed by males in single victim/single offender incidents knew their killers (428 of 475). Nine times as many black females were murdered by a male they knew (428 victims) than were killed by male strangers (47 victims) in single victim/single offender incidents in 2006.
  • The number of black females shot and killed by their husband or intimate acquaintance (132 victims) was nearly three times as high as the total number murdered by male strangers using all weapons combined (47 victims) in single victim/single offender incidents in 2006.
  • The overwhelming majority of homicides of black females by male offenders in single victim/single offender incidents in 2006 were not related to any other felony crime. Most often, black females were killed by males in the course of an argument--most commonly with a firearm. In 2006, for the 412 homicides in which the circumstances between the black female victim and the male killer could be identified, 89 percent (365 out of 412) were not related to the commission of any other felony.

VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, "These findings alarmingly demonstrate how domestic violence can escalate to homicide. More resources need to be made available to protect women and prevent such tragedies."

The study also ranks each state by its rate of total female homicide for females of all races involving one female murder victim and one male offender. For the second year in a row, Nevada, with a rate of 3.27 per 100,000, ranked first in the nation in the rate of women killed by men. Ranked behind Nevada were: South Carolina at 2 with a rate of 2.84 per 100,000; Alabama at 3 with a rate of 2.20 per 100,000; Oklahoma at 4 with a rate of 2.10 per 100,000; Louisiana at 5 with a rate of 1.97 per 100,000; Vermont at 6 with a rate of 1.90 per 100,000; Texas at 7 with a rate of 1.82 per 100,000; Arkansas at 8 with a rate of 1.74 per 100,000; Arizona at 9 with a rate of 1.72 per 100,000; and, Tennessee at 10 with a rate of 1.70 per 100,000. Nationally, the rate of women killed by men in single victim/single offender instances was 1.29 per 100,000.



The Violence Policy Center is a national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals. The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related death and injury.
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