Other Free Encyclopedias » Law Library - American Law and Legal Information » Crime and Criminal Law » Homicide: Behavioral Aspects - Sources Of Data On Homicide, Cross-national Patterns Of Criminal Homicide, Patterns Of Criminal Homicide In The United States

Homicide: Behavioral Aspects - Victim-offender Relationships

homicides percent acquaintances low

Although many relationships occur in human affairs, only some seem to be persistently associated with homicide in the United States. For example, an employee-employer relationship is less frequently associated with homicide than a husband-wife relationship. Unfortunately, information concerning the relation between the victim-offender and reasons for the murder are often difficult to obtain. Each homicide event can be characterized by motive. The descriptions of the motive or of the events by the participants may differ from those of official agencies or of researchers. Definitions used by some researchers for friends, acquaintances, or strangers are sometimes not specified, thus making it difficult to compare various studies of victim-offender relationships. Despite such difficulties, comparisons show that in early U.S. history the major type of homicide in both the North and the South was that of a male killing another male with whom he was acquainted, while they were in a nonwork setting (Lane). In the 1920s and 1930s, homicides that resulted from criminal transactions or justifiable homicides by police, often related to bootlegging and prohibition laws, became more prominent (Boudouris; Lashly).

In the 1940s and 1950s, homicide rates were relatively low and stable. Two types of homicide were most prevalent: homicide between family members, usually husbands and wives, and homicide between two males known to each involved in an argument. From the 1960s into the 1990s, UCR data indicate that homicide between acquaintances and friends was the most predominant form, ranging from a high of 51 percent of the total in 1963 to a low of 34 percent in 1995. The percentage of homicides involving acquaintances dropped during this time, and since 1990 has been superseded by those where the relationship between the victim and offender is unknown. There has also been a decline in family-related homicide, varying from 31 percent of the total in 1963 to a low of 11 percent in 1995.

Based on Uniform Crime Reports, arguments are the predominant precipitating event in homicides, through time. However, in the 1970s and early 1980s there were many homicides in large cities associated with robberies, and in some large U.S. cities in the late 1980s and early 1990s, there was an upsurge of homicides related to narcotics trafficking. The number of homicides for which police do not know the precipitating circumstance showed the greatest increases in the last quarter of the twentieth century in the United States; despite this increase, the majority of homicides still involve victims and offenders who are acquainted.

Homicide: Behavioral Aspects - The Technology Of Homicide [next] [back] Homicide: Behavioral Aspects - Patterns Of Criminal Homicide In The United States

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or

Vote down Vote up

almost 8 years ago

To the people of the world, im a man of god, and on a mission to speak the truth. Im after the enemy that took control of peoples mind i give this warning to whomever harbor the enemy, don't go to sleep. Im coming through the night like a thief, to steal the enemy from you. 2 chronicles 7:14 and luke 1:17, this is the season to plant the seed of faith and have a positive mind. Thank you and god bless