The number of people murdered daily in the United States varies each year. In 2016, there were approximately 15,696 murders, which breaks down to about 43 murders daily, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
In 2014, there were 15,872 homicides, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This translates to an average of five deaths by homicide in a population size of 100,000. Of the homicides reported nationally in 2014, approximately 11,008 were attributed to death by firearms. In percentages, roughly 3.5 percent of a population size of 100,000 people were killed by firearms. Nationwide, states have the right to define homicide, which means there can be slight variations of homicide definitions. Defined in its general sense, homicide is the taking of a human being's life.
Types of Murder
Homicide is typically broken down into three categories, which are murder, manslaughter and justifiable homicide. The term "murder" is sometimes used interchangeably with the word "homicide," but homicide can refer to several types of killing, while murder is only one type of homicide. Murder is further broken down into sub-categories, which are first-degree murder and second-degree murder. First-degree murder is the most serious of the two charges. This type of murder means that a person plotted to kill another human. First-degree murder contains two components, which are malice or evil intent, and forethought or planning. Because first-degree murders are considered the most serious offenses, the punishments for them are more severe and include life imprisonment or execution by the death penalty. A second-degree murder means that a person may have planned to kill another person, but he or she did not plan the event first. Historically, the number of murders each year has fluctuated, but murder deaths have declined in recent years. In 2013, for instance, approximately 4.4 fewer people were murdered than in 2012, according to the FBI. There were 12.1 percent fewer deaths by murder in 2013 than there were in 2004.
Other Forms of Homicide
Homicide also includes manslaughter. If a person is accused of manslaughter, it means that he or she killed another individual without intending to or planning to. Fatal car accidents are an example of manslaughter. Punishment for manslaughter cases varies, but it is usually less severe than a murder sentence. Justifiable homicide is the third broad class of homicides. This term means that a person killed another while acting in self defense. This type of homicide does not carry a criminal sentence, but a person may still face civil penalties for his or her actions. Some states have additional categories for homicides that do not fit into these categories. One classification is a felony murder charge, which means that a person's indirect actions caused another's fatality. An example murder is three individuals carrying out an armed robbery in a bank. If one robber shoots the bank teller, the other two men can be accused of felony murder, even if the teller's death was not caused by them.
While large numbers of people are killed each year, many more are injured. Approximately 1.4 million people are hospitalized annually from assaults, according to the CDC. Hundreds of people are injured in gun violence daily, including children and teenagers.