STUDIES: FBI Crime Report Shows Murder Rates Remain Higher in Death Penalty States

The U.S. Department of Justice released its annual FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2014, reporting no change in the national murder rate since 2013. In the Northeast, the region with the fewest executions, the murder rate declined 5.7%, from 3.5 to 3.3 per 100,000 population. The murder rate was 1.7 times higher in the South, which carries out the most executions of any region. That region saw a 3.4% increase in the homicide rate, and its 5.5 murders per 100,00 population remained the highest rate of any region. Murder rates in the West and Midwest declined by 3.8% and 5.4%, respectively. A DPIC analysis of weighted murder rates found that death penalty jurisdictions continue to have a higher murder rate than non-death penalty jurisdictions (including Washington, D.C.): 4.7 per 100,000 compared to 3.8 per 100,000. Ten of the eleven states with the highest murder rates have the death penalty, while six of the eight lowest do not.

(“Crime in the United States, 2014“, U.S. Dept. of Justice (2015); DPIC analysis posted October 30, 2015). See Deterrence and Murder Rates.

REGION 2014 2013
Northeast 3.3 3.5
West 3.9 4.0
Midwest 4.3 4.6
South 5.5 5.3
NATIONAL 4.5 4.5

Rates are number of murders per 100,000 persons.

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Source:: Death Penalty Information Center