Handguns are by far the most common murder weapon used in the United States, accounting for 7,936 homicides in 2022. This is followed by firearms of an unstated type, with 5,704 cases in that year.
Why do murders happen in the U.S.?
While most of the time the circumstances of murders in the U.S. remain unknown, homicides due to narcotics come in as the second most common circumstance – making them more common than, for example, gang killings. Despite these gruesome facts, the violent crime rate has fallen significantly since 1990, and the United States is much safer than it was in the 1980s and 1990s.
Knife crime vs disease: Leading causes of death
The death rate in the U.S. had hovered around the same level since 1990 until there was a large increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic in recent years. Heart disease, cancer, and the COVID-19 virus were the three leading causes of death in the country in 2021. The rate of death from heart disease is significantly higher than the homicide rate in the United States, at 173.8 deaths per 100,000 population compared to a 6.3 homicides per 100,000. Given just 1,630 murders were caused by knife crime, it is fair to say that heart disease is a far bigger killer in the U.S.
Number of murder victims in the United States in 2022, by weapon used
Due to the FBI's transition to a new crime reporting system, only 15,726 of 18,888 participating law enforcement agencies submitted crime data to the FBI for 2022. As a result, figures may not accurately reflect the total number of crimes.
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FBI. (October 16, 2023). Number of murder victims in the United States in 2022, by weapon used [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved December 02, 2023, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/195325/murder-victims-in-the-us-by-weapon-used/
FBI. "Number of murder victims in the United States in 2022, by weapon used." Chart. October 16, 2023. Statista. Accessed December 02, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/195325/murder-victims-in-the-us-by-weapon-used/
FBI. (2023). Number of murder victims in the United States in 2022, by weapon used. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: December 02, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/195325/murder-victims-in-the-us-by-weapon-used/
FBI. "Number of Murder Victims in The United States in 2022, by Weapon Used." Statista, Statista Inc., 16 Oct 2023, https://www.statista.com/statistics/195325/murder-victims-in-the-us-by-weapon-used/
FBI, Number of murder victims in the United States in 2022, by weapon used Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/195325/murder-victims-in-the-us-by-weapon-used/ (last visited December 02, 2023)
Number of murder victims in the United States in 2022, by weapon used [Graph], FBI, October 16, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/195325/murder-victims-in-the-us-by-weapon-used/