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Welcome to part 2 of 2 where we are analysing violent crime trends.

In the first part of this 2 part mini-series we looked at FBI UCR data which was predominantly long term data.

We are now going to be moving on and looking mainly at Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). This data allows us to now zoon in and pull out some really interesting nuanced areas of violent crime. While it is good to know about larger long term trends you will probably find this lesson to contain more useful and interesting data. I provided links to the BJS and NCVS sites in the last lesson.

As we move through today's lesson, remember to keep in mind the lessons you can walk away with by considering what the offender data means as well as the victim data. As per the last lesson, today's statistics are only featuring data from the US (for now). Please do note there are many similiarities across Western countries. I will add other countries as I continue to refine Understanding Modern Violence.

I won't hold you up anymore, let's dive right in.

violent victimization by violent crime type (rate per 1,000 people)

The above chart is drawn from National Crime Victimisation Survey (NCVS), 1993-2014. The NCVS are, as the name implies, drawn from surveys conducted with victims of crime. These data points involve crimes that may or may not have been reported to police.

What the above chart does is show what types of violent crime are most common. This chart will help you in understanding what type of violent crime you are most likely to encounter. Remember we are only talking about national averages here. Your own area and your own lifestyle will effect this. However it is an important baseline understanding.

We can see that assault is far and away the most common type of violent crime. Domestic violence, then robbery, then rape.

Although it may be obvious, you will not find homicide data in the NCVS as victims of murder don't speak much during interviews and surveys.

Violent crime victims - gender (rate per 1,000 people)

The above chart uses data from BJS, National Crime Victimization Survey, 1993-2014.

For the females out there who think they are far less likely to be victims of violent crime - think again. Females only slightly less often find themselves as victims of violent crime.

Enough said. That chart speaks volumes.

violent crime victims - race/origin (rate per 1,000 people)

The above chart uses data from BJS, National Crime Victimization Survey, 1993-2014.

There isn't really anything key to point out on this chart. No race or group is significantly more likely to find themselves as victims of crime.

I have included it though to dispel potential pre-conceived notions that certain groupings are more likely to be involved in violent crime.

VIOLENT CRIME VICTIMS - AGE (rate per 1,000 people)

The above chart uses data from BJS, National Crime Victimization Survey, 1993-2014.

This chart is interesting. It shows violent crime victims broken down by age. While in recent time the rates have closed up, historically 12-24 year olds have been far more likely to become victims of violent crime.

The community is not aligned on the causes of the drop off in rates for young people. However, generally speaking, younger people are still more often victims of violent crime than older people.


Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, 2005, 2013, and 2014.

The above chart shows the rate of victims by demographic. Specifically, it looks at marital status. Somewhat surprisingly at first glance there are more differentiating features in this chart than the one looking at different age brackets.

First of all, have a look at just how much more often people who are 'seperated' are victims of violent crime. That's over twice as likely as the next categories - 'divorced' and 'never married'.

Then there is a further large drop of in rates to those lucky 'married' and not so lucky 'widowed'.

When we think about these significant differences they start to make sense. Those who are recently seperated are generally more likely to go out drinking and socialising with friends. Maybe catching up on lost time. This sort of activity could be seen to be high risk when it comes to being exposed to violent crime.

People who are divorced and never married are the next category of people who are most often victims of violent crime. It could be seen that the divorcees have settled down a little from their initial 'seperated' party lifestyle but still no longer have family responsibilities. They can still do whatever they want. Same goes for those never married. It makes sense they would be similarly at risk.

Then way down we have those who are married and widowed. Married people tend to have a lot of responsibilities and people to take care of. This keeps them busy and 'off the streets' so to speak. Widowers are generally going to be older and coincidentally also in the lowest risk age brackets as well.

So where do you fit on this chart? Wild and single and stressed out and married? I assume most people have never considered these as considerable risk factors for getting involved in violent crime.

What does all of this mean? If you are recently seperated your actions could make you much more likely to become a victim of violent crime. Know any friends (or family members) who are recently seperated? Keep an eye on them. Make sure they are not participating in high risk activity.


The above chart uses data drawn from FBI, Supplementary Homicide Reports, 1980-2008. Also see a BJS report on homicide drawn mostly from the same data here. The FBI data (download the zip file for all of that juicy raw homicide data to look through) lists all victim to offender relationships. I have only included the highest numbers here for ease of comprehension (there are many categories).

With that out of the way, let's look at the above chart (from Filename: htus8008at24_unweighted.csv).

We can see that that most people killed were killed by an aquaintance of some sort. Closely following that is a stranger. The we get down to other known. After that we get down to family members and loved ones.

So while most people tend to think that a murderer is some scary stranger, we can see that when we add the aquaintance with other known people, family members and loved ones we see that people we know can be just as dangerous to us as those scary strangers.



The above chart draws from the same large data set in that zip file as the previous chart. Specifically, filename: htus8008f05.csv was used for the above.

The average age of homicide victims is 32.6 years of age.

The average age of homicide offenders is 28.4 years of age.

This chart will give you an appreciation that victims are generally older than offenders. This has been a consistent truth for some time.


The above chart is drawn from BJS Report title: Homicide Trends in United States - Filename: htus8008f19.csv. This data is in that same zip file from above.

This is an interesting chart. Some people have this idea that blacks kill whites or whites kill blacks but that is not an accurate statement to make when we look at the total picture. What is really happening out in the world is that whites kill whites and blacks kill blacks. This has consistantly been the case for many years - even during that crazy early 1990's period.

I have included this chart so that there are not any incorrect preconceived notions out there. It is much better to have an accurate understanding of modern violence so that you can develop an accurate appreciation of the most likely offender you will face combined with how your profile matches up with victim profiles.

So when it comes to homicide, whether you are white or black, you should be much more concerned about your own race, not another one.


The above chart is drawn from the same report as the previous chart. The specific file reference is Filename: htus8008f38.csv.

The above chart shows that when aggressors are in groups, it is the younger groups that are most frequently the most dangerous. Younger people gain strength and capability when they are in a group. There is likely to be a sort of peer pressure in this.

Younger people are more susceptible to being pressured into doing something than older more mature and independent older people. Related to this is the fact that younger people are less likely to consider the consequences of their actions than older people.

Younger people are most easily manipulated into conducted violent acts. They may not be as capable as older battle hardened people. It is just that they can be convinced easier.

This chart is perhaps reflected in the massive swathe of children being forceably, or coerced, to become child soldiers around the world and throughout history (see here, here and here).


This data feeding the above chart is the same as the previous report. The specific file name is Filename: htus8008f40.csv.

The above chart has a couple of interesting data points.

Firstly, many people have the perception that most murders are related to gang violence. Therefore, if you are not involved in gang violence you are far less likely to get killed. Whilst that seems like fair rational the data shows this is not demonstrating a full appreciation of the facts.

The data, over a ~30 year period shows us that biggest known risk factor associated with getting killed is getting into an argument.

Let that sink in for a moment. This is an important take-away. The lesson? Don't get into pointless arguments with people! Simple advice that is often put aside as being too obvious or not truly important.

The other large risk factor is unknown. This unknown category is likely to involve murders where the victim was killed (obvious I know..) but where the offender was not caught. Therefore, nobody knows what happened.

I am going to make some inferences here based on data we covered earlier in Understanding Modern Violence. Because we have seen that homicide/murder is more like robbery than assault (Predatory) it is likely that these unknown homicides were predatory in nature. It is most likely these were predatory sort of violent acts.

we perhaps see some further evidence of this as we look down the chard and see Felony. This means the homicide was commited during some other felony. This could be during a robbery or home invasion or the like. This is when it has been positively associated with this act of felony. The unknowns could simply be more of this that has not been identified.


As above. Filename: htus8008f46.csv

The above chart shows that you are no longer more likely to be killed in a larger city. That was very much the case back in the 1980s and early 1990s but the differences in the newest data, 2008, show that it doesn't really matter if you live in a town or large city. The rates of homicide are fairly close these days.

I have included this chart not so much because there is a significant risk factor I wanted to highlight, but to debunk any biases or perceptions you may have that is now unfounded in reality.

The only stand out from this data is that the smallest populations have tended to have the lowest levels of homicide throughout the reporting history.

A reminder, as I mentioned near the opening of the lesson on violent crime analysis, these are national averages. It is worth looking at specifics for a more accurate understanding of where you live.


This chart is interesting for a range of reasons. Take note the bottom axis is not based on time but on age. This chart shows the relation between the age of people involved in homicide compared with crime type.

Firstly, we can see that the 18-34 year age bracket sees the biggest correlation. That should come as no surprise by now.

The biggest outlier on this chart is homicide type Workplace. You can see the Workplace homicide type gradually goes up as you get older. It starts as the least likely type than gradually goes up to being the most common type.

On the flip side of Workplace we have Gang related. Gang related starts off being most common homicide type at the youngest age bracket, peaks around 18-34 then drops off significantly by 35-49 where it stays as the least significant homicide type for older people.

Note the closest type to Gang related is Drug related. This homicide type closely follows Gang related which shouldn't surprise many people either.

Also note Argument is right up there as well. If you are not associated with a gang or the drug world, getting caught up in an argument is right up there for young people.


So this brings us to the end of the Understanding Modern Violence lessons on violent crime analysis (finally!). This was a long one section. We spent a lot of time on this topic as it is really foundation baseline knowledge we need to have to develop an accurate appreciation of how violent crime is happening out there in the world.

If we don't know how violent crime is actually happening how can we ever expect to develop methods of avoiding being targeted or chosen as a victim. It really is the very first step in developing self defense and personal safety knowledge.

Remember, knowledge is power. I don't think anyone would disagree that the knowledge you have gained so far will be indespensible as we move forward from here and continue to progress through Understanding Modern Violence.

Until next lesson, stay classy and see you later.