1,920 females were murdered by males in the United States in 1997
The homicide rate among females murdered by males in the U.S. was 1.40 per 100,000 in 1997
There were 190 female homicide victims (10 percent) were less than 18 years old, and 154 victims (8 percent) were 65 years of age or older.
Race and Ethnicity
Female murder victims in which race was identified (1,901 victims) included: 1,140 white females; 693 black females; 51 Asian or Pacific Islanders; and 17 American Indian or Alaskan natives. While the actual number of victims was highest among white females, the rate of homicide was nearly 4 times higher among black females (3.88 per 100,000 versus 1.01 per 100,000). Under ethnic classification, 140 of the 1,140 white females were categorized as being of Hispanic origin. None of the women in the other 3 racial groups were categorized as being of Hispanic origin.
Most Common Weapons
In cases in which the weapon used in the homicide could be identified (1,830 cases), more than half of all female homicide victims (1,000 victims or 55 percent) were shot and killed with guns. Three quarters of these gun victims (754 victims or 75 percent) were killed with handguns. There were 351 females killed with knives or other cutting instruments; 251 females killed by bodily force; 109 females killed with blunt objects; and 80 females killed by strangulation. The remainder of cases involved other non-firearm weapons.
In cases in which the relationship between the victim and the offender could be identified (1,826 cases), 9 out of 10 female victims (1,689 victims or 92 percent) were murdered by someone they knew. Only 137 female victims (8 percent) were killed by strangers. Of the victims who knew their offenders, more than half (969 victims or 57 percent) were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders. Among the 969 female intimates murdered, 61 percent (594 victims) were killed with guns; over three quarters of these gun victims (453 victims or 76 percent) were shot and killed with handguns.
In cases in which the circumstance of the homicide could be identified (1,599 cases), 85 percent (1,362 cases) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these cases, over two thirds (938 cases or 69 percent) involved arguments between the victim and offender.
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