According to the FBI SHR data, in 2008 there were 6,841 black homicide
victims in the United States. The homicide rate among black victims in the United
States was 18.07 per 100,000. For that year, the overall national homicide rate was
4.93 per 100,000. For whites, the national homicide rate was 2.99 per 100,000.
Additional information contained in the FBI SHR data on black homicide includes the
Of the 6,841 black homicide victims, 5,878 (86 percent) were male, and 961
(14 percent) were female. In two cases, the gender of the victim was unknown. The
homicide rate for black male victims was 32.49 per 100,000. In comparison, the
overall rate for male homicide victims was 7.93 per 100,000. For white male
homicide victims it was 4.44 per 100,000. The homicide rate for female black victims
was 4.86 per 100,000. In comparison, the overall rate for female homicide victims
was 1.99 per 100,000. For white female homicide victims it was 1.57 per 100,000.
Six hundred sixteen black homicide victims (9 percent) were less than 18 years
old and 120 black homicide victims (2 percent) were 65 years of age or older. The
average age was 30 years old.
Most Common Weapons
For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, 82 percent of black
victims (5,308 out of 6,445) were shot and killed with guns. Of these, 72 percent
(3,843 victims) were killed with handguns. There were 653 victims killed with knives
or other cutting instruments, 248 victims killed by bodily force, and 150 victims killed
by a blunt object.
For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified,
75 percent of black victims (2,398 out of 3,206) were murdered by someone they
knew. Eight hundred eight victims were killed by strangers.