Homicides in New York City, 1797-1999

There has been little research on United States homicide rates from a long-term perspective, primarily because there has been no consistent data series on a particular place preceding the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), which began its first full year in 1931. To fill this research gap, this project created a data series on homicides per capita for New York City that spans two centuries. The goal was to create a site-specific, individual-based data series that could be used to examine major social shifts related to homicide, such as mass immigration, urban growth, war, demographic changes, and changes in laws. Data were also gathered on various other sites, particularly in England, to allow for comparisons on important issues, such as the post-World War II wave of violence. The basic approach to the data collection was to obtain the best possible estimate of annual counts and the most complete information on individual homicides. The annual count data (Parts 1 and 3) were derived from multiple sources, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports and Supplementary Homicide Reports, as well as other official counts from the New York City Police Department and the City Inspector in the early 19th century. The data include a combined count of murder and manslaughter because charge bargaining often blurs this legal distinction. The individual-level data (Part 2) were drawn from coroners’ indictments held by the New York City Municipal Archives, and from daily newspapers. Duplication was avoided by keeping a record for each victim. The estimation technique known as “capture-recapture” was used to estimate homicides not listed in either source. Part 1 variables include counts of New York City homicides, arrests, and convictions, as well as the homicide rate, race or ethnicity and gender of victims, type of weapon used, and source of data. Part 2 includes the date of the murder, the age, sex, and race of the offender and victim, and whether the case led to an arrest, trial, conviction, execution, or pardon. Part 3 contains annual homicide counts and rates for various comparison sites including Liverpool, London, Kent, Canada, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco.

Dataset Variables

Variable Name Description Format
CDNHPC Canadian homicides per 100 000 string
CHIHPC Chicago homicides per 100 000 DPTHLTH string
CIVILWAR civil war string
CNHOMPC Canadian homicides per 100 000 string
ENGHOMPC England homicide percentage string
ENGMUR England murders (including manslaughter) string
LNEXE London executions string
LNEXEPC London executions percentage string
LNHOMPC London homicides per 100 000 string
LVHPC merged Liverpool homicides per 100 000 population string
MEDIEVAL medieval string
N n string
NARMALE New York arrests - male string
NARR all homicide arrests string
NBARSPM licensed taverns per 1000 men string
NBL African-American population string
NBLHMPC NY black homicide per 100 000 string
NBLM New York City black males 16-45 string
NBLPC New York City victims SHR per 100 000 string
NBLSHR New York City black victims string
NBLV black victims string
NBLVSM5 5nblmv string
NBLWHRT ratio of smoothed rates string
NBOY boy under 6 string
NCIMS City Inspector total manslaughters string
NCIMUR City Inspector total murders string
NCONVAL NYC murder and manslaughter convictions string
NCOR ncor string
NCORONER indicator for coroner reports A string
NCOUNT count of individual homicides string
NCVAL convictions from valentine string
NDEATHS cholera deaths in thousands string
NDEC mid-decade homicides per adult string
NEMERSO h. emerson coroner's reports string
NEXE executions for murder in NYC string
NEXEPC nexepc string
NFAM number of family murders string
NFB New York City foreign-born population string
NFBI data from FBI Urban Crime Reports string
NFBINV est. Federal Bureau involved homicide string
NFBRATE nfbrate string
NFMBPOP est New York City foreign-born AD males 1000s string
NFMPC New York City family murders per 100 000 string
NGE German victims string
NGHMPC New York City gun homicides percentage string
NGIRL girl under 6 string
NGK New York City percentage of guns and knives string
NGNSOURC weapon 1=IND. 2=NYDH 3=NYPD string
NGUN ngun string
NHGUNPC nhgunpc string
NHIM New York homicide per 100k non-New York ad mal string
NHMALE New York City homicide male 16-45 string
NHMG New York City gun homicides in male population string
NHMK New York City knife homicides in male population string
NHOM actual New York homicides string
NHOMCOM homicides found in either source string
NHOMCOR total homicides from coroner's reports only string
NHOMNP homicides found in Tribune 1843 string
NHOMPAP homicides in newspaper only string
NHOMPC NYC homicides per 100 000 string
NHPCOTHR New York City non-gun homicides percentage string
NIND data gathered by individual string
NIR Irish victims string
NIRISH New York Irish string
NKHMPC New York City knife homicides percentage string
NKN nkn string
NM1645 New York City males aged 16-45 string
NMAN nman string
NMENHPC New York City men victims per 100k men string
NMWRAT percentage of New York City victims women string
NNNYPOP est New York City non New York State born AD males 1000s string
NOHMPC New Orleans homicide per 100K string
NONGUN non-gun string
NOTHER New York non-gun or knife homicides per 100 000 string
NPAPER indicator if newspaper primary string
NPCTG percent killings by gun string
NPCTKNIF percentage of killing by bladed weapon string
NPCTM estimated percentage of New York males between 16-45 string
NPCTO percentage of killings not by gun or knife string
NPFBMALE percentage of foreign-born male aged 16-45 string
NPNNY percentage of non-New York State male aged 16-45 string
NPOP NYC population in thousands string
NSPC New York City spousal murders per 100 000 string
NSPOUSE number of spousal murders string
NSTCONV convicted of murder or manslaughter for string
NTAVERN tavern string
NTAVPC taverns (licensed) per 1000 string
NTIME ntime string
NTOT ntot string
NTRAIL trials for homicide string
NWH white homicide victims string
NWHBLRT black/white homicide ratio string
NWHMV New York City white homicides per 100 000 white males string
NWHOMPC nwhompc string
NWHPC New York City white victims SHR per 100 000 string
NWHPOP New York City white population string
NWHSHR New York City white victims string
NWM1645 white males 16-45 string
NWOMAN New York City women victims >1 string
NWOMHPC New York City women victims per 100k women string
NWOMPOP New York City women pop in 1000s string
NYBM New York black males 14-24 string
OHPC original count hpc string
PCTTOT Percentage of all New York City bachelors string
RIOTDAY riot day string
RIOTDEAD riot dead string
RIOTMO riot month string
RIOTNAME riot name string
RIOTYR riot year string
RYRDUM ryrdum string
HR string
USHOMARR United States homicide arrests string
USHOMPC United States homicide per 100 000 (Holinge/Eckberg) string
USHOMPRI ushompri string
W1812 War of 1812 string
WCW Civil War string
WVN Vietnam War string
WWWI World War I string
WWWII World War II string
YEAR year string