A. Background information
B. Thesis statement
II. Major Homicide Areas
A. Geographical regions
C. Area of cities
III. Murders and Victims
C. Murder to Victim Relationship
1. Murders associated with drugs
2. Murders associated with gangs
3. Murders associated with family
4. Murders associated with a crime
V. Clearance Rate and Punishments
A. Clearance rate
1. Smoking gun
2. No clues
1. Capital murder
2. First Degree
VI. Murder Rates
A. Long term has dropped
1. 1995 large drop
2. 1996 largest drop
A. Restatement of thesis
B. Evaluation of facts
Homicide Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Homicide has always been a popular social issue. Now that homicide rates have increased the attention given to this issue has grown tremendously. Homicide, however, is a greatly changing issue from the areas it occurs in, and who the victims and offenders are, to the reasons for murder, the clearance rates and punishment, and the rate at which murders occur.
Homicide rates greatly vary in different areas of the world. A large portion of domestic murders in the United States occur in the southern states. Many detectives blame this on the fact that the farther south a location is, the hotter it is. Heat seem to have a affect on peoples attitudes and tempers. The heat theory also takes affect in lower Latin America where the crime rates are much higher than in the United States.(AHomicide @ 507) Murder occurs in all cities all over the world, but the higher rates are almost always in the city. A reason for this is that there is more organized crime such as gangs and other groups in lager cities. The gangs make and bring in criminals that wold not be criminals in smaller cities. Another reason for the majority of homicides being in larger cities is that there are much less drugs in smaller cities. Drugs are the number one cause of murder and without drugs the number one cause of murder is gone (Hoffman). Among cities a few stand out from the rest in their homicide rates. These cities are Washington D.C., New York, Las Angles, and Birmingham, Alabama (Archibald). AA homicide rate for a city is more a picture of the community – the culture of violence in the community – than the work the police are doing@(Archibald).
There are many differences between blacks and whites, males and females, and the young and old in criminals and victims. Murders often have similar traits such as race sex and age. The pattern held for blacks and whites and males and females although homicide has always been more common for blacks and males (AMurder@ 852). On average, of all murders forty-four percent of offenders are white and Hispanic. Another fifty-five percent were black despite that blacks make up only twelve percent of the United States population (AAmerica=s Ticking Crime Bomb@). Most murders are also male. In 1995 ninety percent of murders were male and ten percent were female (Shyder). Most murders are in between the ages of sixteen to twenty six (Hoffman). On average one percent of murders are between the ages of four and eleven, seven percent are between the ages of twelve and eighteen, twenty-six are eighteen to twenty-four, and fifty percent are twenty-five to fifty (Shyder). Victims traits are often close to that of the murders. This is because most murders murder a peer of the same age and nationality (AWho We Kill@). In sixty-one out of every one-hundred criminal homicide fatalities, the victim is black. In thirty-five out of a hundred homicide cases the casualty is white (Conklin 11). The race of victims change a drastically when you only keep an account of inner-city slayings. In the city African Americans are seven times as likely to be slaughtered than whites and other nationalities. Blacks making up for the majority on inner-city population may account for this (AAmerica=s Ticking Crime Bomb@). According to 1995 statistics eighty percent of all supplementary murder victims were males. The other twenty percent of the murder victims were female (Shyder). Of all murder victims three percent are younger than three, two percent are ages four to eleven, seven percent are twelve to seventeen, twenty percent are eighteen to twenty four, fifty percent are twenty-five to fifty, and eleven percent are older than fifty. This data shows that the majority of murder victoms are in their late teens or early twenties (Ommachen). A victims relationship to its murder is called the victim to murderer relationship. The most common victim to murderer relationship is for thee victim to be an acquaintance of the murderer. This is the relationship for fifty-three percent of murders (Marzulli). The second most classification is for the murderer to be the victim=s relative. This classification includes brothers, sisters, husbands, waves, uncles, aunts, and any other relative. The relative classification covers thirty-six percent of murders. The final classification, which is the most uncommon, is the murder being a stranger to the victim. This makes up the last eleven percent of murders (Police Science).
People most of the time have a reason for murdering someone. In few cases people just go out and murder a person for no particular reason. The main cause of murder is drugs. Many people kill other people with drugs so they take their victims drugs. People also buy expensive amounts of drugs from a dealer but are not able to pay them for it. When the dealer does not get the money he was promised, in some cases the dealer kills customer (Narzalli). Another primary reason for murder is gang violence. Gangs often get into fights. Sometimes a gang member gets injured so badly he ends up dying (Hoffman). Family violence is also a cause for murder. Family violence may include fight between children and parents, children and children, and a husband and a wife. Most family homicides follow drinking. Common subjects for the dispute to be about are money and sex (AHomicide 508@). The way a majority of all family murders begin is with an insult (AMurder 509@). A common type of homicide is when a criminal kills someone in the process of a crime. Although this reason criminal have to murder is not a great as drugs, gangs, or family, it is still a common reason for murder (Hoffman). ACriminals sometimes have to kill someone to protect himself from being accused of another crime@ (Hoffman).
Out of all homicide cases, an average of sixty-five percent of them ended in an arrest (Conklin). Many murders are getting smarter and smarter. A lot are educated through jail. Some murders are what is called graduates of the penal system who have been schooled dully by jailhouse lawyers on how to beat the system (Police Science 359). It is tough to catch murders. Higher overall crime rates and an increase if violence put more strain on police resources and capabilities and tend to create public relations. In many eases people do not want to get involved with the police, especially in a murder investigation. (AMurder@ 308). Homicide innvesigations can get very tricky. Manytimes it is possible for murders to purposefully mislead the police. When a criminal purposfully tries to mislead police it is called staging a criminal scene (Police Science 359). There are different punishments for different types of homicides. A first degree homicide would most likely be punishable by life in jail. The punishment could never be the death sentence. A capital murder can be a murder in the process of a crime, the killing of a child younger than six, a policeman, or another important person. The punishment for a capital murder can be the death sentence or life in jail. People under the age of seventeen can not be put to death (Hoffman).
Homicide rates in the United States has changed greatly over the twentieth century. Homicide in the United States increased from 1900 to the 1930s. After that the rate slowly decreased from 1933 to the 1940s and1950s. Following that was a modest rise frm 1963 through the late 1980s (AWill Crime Wave Goodbye?@). From the begging of the 1990s there has been a constant drop in homicide rates. The most dramatic drop however occurred in cities with more than a million inhabitants. The rate of drop has dropped at an increasing speed since 1990. In 1995 the homicide rate was seven-teen percent less of what it was in 1994 (Marzulli). ACriminogists are struggling to explain the decline in big-city crime. Some think it is partly a result of the dramatic fall in use of crack and cocaine@ (AWill Crime Wave Goodbye?@). Having seen its effects of violence, fewer people are trying crack, and many crack users who have not died from crack, have been killed by gang wars set off by selling it (AWill Crime Wave Goodbye?@) There are a few clear reasons for the drop, one of them being baby boomers are now getting towards middle-age when there no so violent (AAmerica=s Ticking Crime Bomb@) Some other causes of the drop in crime are stiffer sentences, more of sentence being served, community effort, and an improved relationship between police and residence (Castillo). The future rates have been forecasted to go up because of the number of kids has increased. Statistics even say that the next generation will be even more violent than the one before it (@Homicide@).
Homicide is a greatly changing issue from the areas it occurs in, and who the victims and offenders are, to the reasons for murder, the clearance rates and punishment, and the rate at which murders occur. No aspect of homicide ever stays the same for long.
Castillo, Jamie. AMurder Tally May Hit 21-Year Low.@ San Antonio Express New 29 Sept. 1996.
Snyder, Howard N., and Finnegan, Terrence A. (1996) Easy Access to the FBI=s Supplementary Homicide Reports:1980-1995 [Data presentation and analysis package]. Washington DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.