Homicide crime and investigation
Homicide is the most commonly thought of violent crime in the U.S. Homicide, as defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is murder or non-negligent manslaughter, the willful killing of one human being by another. While the murder rate has dropped by almost 7,000 since 1980, thousands are still killed every year. Those interested in homicide-related law and crime should attend college for a criminal justice degree and go into local or federal law enforcement.
Different classifications of homicide
There are a variety of classifications of homicide, from serial murder to sexual homicide. These different types of crime call for different styles of investigation and preventative matters.
Sexual homicide – Sexual homicide, or homicide linked to sexual violence, is a serious felony. Many studies have examined the psychological reasons for this criminal act, as well as risk factors involved.
Serial murder – When a killer murders a number of victims over a course of time with similar motives and characteristics, they are labeled a serial killer. This loose definition has been applied to some of the more famous murderers throughout history, such as Jack the Ripper and Ed Gein. Usually there are linking characteristics, such as similarities in victims or locations, that connect serial murders.
Intimate partner homicide – The killing of a partner, spouse or ex-spouse is classified as intimate partner homicide, and is one of the more common types of the crime.
Murder-suicide – This crime is characterized by the killing of another, and then the killing of one's self. This type of homicide also includes family murder-suicide, a particularly heinous crime when a parent kills their spouse and children, then themselves.
Homicide rates in the U.S.
While not the most prolific crime, homicide is one of the worst crimes committed in the U.S. Different groups analyze homicide and arrest rates and trends related to the crime. Students who are pursuing a bachelor's degree in criminal justice may benefit from browsing these resources to gain more information on homicide in the country.
Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) – The BJS records and analyzes homicide trends and categorizes them by demographic, region and weapon. These trends and their related information is important for law enforcement and those pursuing criminal justice degrees for investigating and preventing killings.
Homicide statistics – The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) tracks different homicide trends using similar categories as the BJS. This information is analyzed and used to track changes in the trends, as well as examine these trends more closely.
Arrest statistics – The DOJ also analyzes arrest rates in the U.S. and compares them with homicide rates. These comparisons can show the number of offenders caught and prosecuted, as well as the number of unsolved murders.
Death trends – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzes death rates in the U.S. and separates them by cause, which can be useful for people interested in criminal justice degrees for examining methods used to kill.
FBI crime statistics – The FBI collects and investigates crime statistics across the country. One key component of criminal investigation is not only analyzing data, but also comparing that data and backing it up with proof. Using multiple resources to analyze murder trends can be very important, as differing data could lead to not only poor investigation methods, but wrongful arrests as well.
Census trends and statistics – The U.S. Census examines murder rates and correlating data by race and gender.
Changes and improvements in homicide investigation
Through careful analysis and examination of murder trends and statistics, law enforcement agents have been able to not only lower the number of homicides in the U.S. over the years, but also determine more successful investigative methods.
Risk assessment – The National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) releases information on risk factors in homicide and other crimes, as well as advice on how to use the information to assist law enforcement.
Declining homicide rates – The NCJRS reports on the decline of homicide rates and examines likely causes for these changes. The reports also include related data, such as domestic violence reports and shelter statistics.
Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) – One major improvement which has resulted because of more careful homicide statistic analysis is the creation of the OVC. This office works primarily to assist victims of crime during the immediate aftermath, as well as administering the Crime Victims Fund.