Few national or regional studies have compared the murder of Hispanic women to black women and/or white women. This omission is partly because there is no comprehensive database that adequately identifies women of Hispanic ethnicity and the circumstances of their murders. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information about the numbers of murders broken out by Hispanic ethnicity, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation has information about the circumstances of murders, but has severely limited information regarding ethnicity. There is no way to link the two databases, nor any other database that contains both types of information.
Only five states – Arizona, California, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texasï¿½reported Hispanic ethnicity information that could be broken down for comparison with other races/ethnicities. These five states provide a snapshot of the characteristics of Hispanic female homicides and how these homicides fit into the larger female homicide picture.
Nationally, Hispanic females are killed at rates slightly above white females, but below black females. (The national female homicide rate includes women murdered by other women, women murdered by more than one person, etc.) The overall female homicide rate for Hispanic females is 3.0 per 100,000, with the white and black female homicide rates at 2.0 and 8.1 per 100,000, respectively.l
Age of Hispanic Female Homicide Victims – Five-State Analysis
In single female victim/single male offender homicides reported for 1999, 13 percent (15 victims) of the Hispanic victims were less than 18 years old and only two percent (two victims) were 65 years of age or older. The average age of Hispanic female homicide victims was 31 years old, far younger than the average age of non-Hispanic white women (42 years old) or black women (35 years old) in the five states analyzed.
Victim to Offender Relationship – Five-State Analysis
Compared to a man, a Hispanic woman is far more likely to be killed by her spouse, an intimate acquaintance, or a family member than by a stranger. Nearly 17 times as many Hispanic females were murdered by a male they knew (117 victims) than were killed by male strangers (seven victims) in single victim/single offender incidents in 1999. Of Hispanic victims who knew their offenders, 63 percent (74 out of 117) were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders. Of the homicides in these five states where the race/ethnicity of the offender was known, 88 percent (383 out of 433) involved an offender of the same race/ethnicity.
Hispanic Female Homicide Victims and Weapons – Five-State Analysis
Firearmsï¿½especially handgunsï¿½were the most common weapons used by men to murder Hispanic females in 1999. In homicides in which the murder weapon could be identified, 52 percent (62 out of 119) of all female Hispanic homicide victims in the five states were shot and killed with guns. And when these women were killed with a gun, it was almost always a handgun (52 victims or 84 percent). In fact, in the five states, 84 percent of Hispanic women were killed with a handgun in firearm murders, compared to 82 percent of non-Hispanic white women and 78 percent of black women. The number of Hispanic females shot and killed by their husband or intimate acquaintance (45 victims) was more than six times higher than the total number murdered by male strangers using all weapons combined (seven victims) in single victim/single offender incidents in 1999.
Hispanic Female Homicide Victims and Circumstance – Five-State Analysis
The overwhelming majority of homicides among Hispanic females by male offenders in single victim/single offender incidents in 1999 were not related to any other felony crime. Most often, females were killed by males in the course of an argumentï¿½usually with a firearm. In 1999 for homicides in which the circumstance between the Hispanic female victim and male offender could be identified, 87 percent (104 out of 119) were not related to the commission of any other felony.
Of the homicides not involving a felony, 78 percent (81 out of 104) involved arguments between the Hispanic female victim and male offender. Fifty-two percent (42 victims) were shot and killed with guns during those arguments.
l) Data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Controlï¿½WISQARS.