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Topical Crime Studies Released with Crime in the United States, 2003

Washington, D.C. October 25, 2004
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

With the release of Crime in the United States, 2003 on Monday, October 25, the FBI also made public two topical crime analyses using Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data. The subject matter of these two studies—family and intimate partner violence and homicide as a community problem—are topics that have consistently held the attention of those who monitor crime in our Nation.

The first study, Violence Among Family Members and Intimate Partners, is based on data collected through the UCR Program’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) for the years 1996 through 2001. An examination of the familial or intimate partner relationship data within violent incidents revealed that spousal relationships (i.e., spouse, common-law spouse, and ex-spouse) accounted for 53 percent of violent incidents wherein a family or intimate relationship was recorded. Additionally, 44 percent of violent incidents with a family relationship present involved a child, and elderly relatives represented 3 percent of violent offense victims when familial or intimate associations were a factor.

Regarding all familial and intimate partner relationships, NIBRS data demonstrate that the most common violent offense encountered was assault, with simple assault (an assault with no serious injury involved) the most prevalent type. When a child was involved, the second most common violent offense category in the family setting after assaults was sex offenses. Robbery was the second most common offense among victims who were elderly relatives. The most common weapon used to commit violence within a familial or intimate partner relationship was personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.).

The second study, The Importance of Homicide as a Community Problem in the United States for the years 1981 through 2001, clusters homicides based on the characteristics of the offenders. The study is a spatial analysis of UCR data with maps that examine the pattern of homicide as a jurisdictional and regional phenomenon. This report finds that homicide in the Nation can be divided into two basic constituencies. The first, murders in which little is known about the offender, accounts for approximately 30 percent of homicides reported to the FBI. The remaining homicides are those where the victim and offender typically had some prior relationship. The result of this study clearly shows that the occurrence of homicide cannot be summed up by a region’s or jurisdiction’s murder rate alone. It is a complex function of other factors that affect the community that goes beyond population and its fluctuations. A better understanding of the nature of homicide within the various communities in the United States can help law enforcement to design better strategies and policies to combat crime.

Further analysis of family and intimate partner violence and homicide patterns can be found in the complete reports in Section V of Crime in the United States, 2003. Crime in the United States, 2003, can be accessed at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr.