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Homicide in California 2008

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2010
110 pages
This report presents 2008 data and information on homicide in California and its victims, as well as demographic data on persons arrested for homicide, together with information on the death penalty, the number of peace officers killed in the line of duty, and justifiable homicide.
Data on homicide crimes reported to California law enforcement indicate that from 2007 to 2008, the homicide rate per 100,000 population decreased 6.7 percent (6.0 percent to 5.6 percent). From 1999 to 2008, the homicide rate decreased 5.1 percent (5.9 percent to 5.6 percent). A greater percentage of White victims were female than were Hispanic or Black victims. White victims tended to be older, and Hispanic and Black victims tended to be younger. Females were more likely to be killed in their residences, and males were more likely to be killed on streets or sidewalks. In cases where the victim-offender relationship was known, 48.5 percent of the victims were killed by friends or acquaintances. Firearms were used in 70.5 percent of homicide in 2008. In 2008, the average daily number of homicides was highest on weekends (7.9 percent compared to 5.0 percent). In 2008, where contributing circumstances were known, 38.1 percent of homicides resulted from an argument, and 33.7 percent were gang-related. From 2007 to 2008, the rate of homicide arrests per 100,000 population at risk decreased 8.8 percent (6.8 percent to 6.2 percent). From 1999 to 2008, the homicide arrest rate decreased 10.1 percent (6.9 percent to 6.2 percent). The overwhelming majority of homicide arrestees were male; and the largest percentage of homicide arrestees and victims were Hispanic. By the end of 2008, there were 665 persons under sentence of death in California; three peace officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty. Extensive figures