Homicides from 1980 to 2014
1,697 homicides reported (2014)
Homicide is the unjustified, willful killing of one human being by another. California law enforcement agencies report to the California Department of Justice supplemental homicide data on the demographics of homicide victims, the type of weapon used, the relationship between victims and offenders, and the circumstance surrounding the incident. Deaths caused by negligence, attempts to kill, assaults to kill, suicides, and accidental deaths are excluded. These pages represent an analysis of over 73,000 homicides throughout the state from 1987 to 2014. Homicide rates published here may differ slightly from rates reported in prior California Department of Justice publications due to differences in how population figures were estimated.
How has California's homicide rate changed over time?
Annual reported homicides climbed from 2,929 in 1987, reaching a peak of 4,095 in 1993. Since then, the number of reported homicides has declined and averaged around 2,300 homicides per year. In 2014, law enforcement reported 1,697 homicides, the lowest number since 1987.
California's Reported Homicides, 1987-2014
How does California's homicide rate compare to homicide rates in other states and nationwide?
California's homicide rate-along with those of the three next-largest states-exhibited many similarities with that of the U.S. as a whole, increasing steadily between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s. But where the national rate had doubled by 1980 (5.1 to 10.2), California's had tripled by then (4.7 to 14.5). Most of these states' rates saw a peak in that year, then fell but diverged in their trajectories for the coming decade and a half. The national rate (and those of all four states except Florida) peaked again around 1994, and then fell steadily. By 2010, most rates were back down to where they had been in 1965 (although Florida and Texas achieved those lows more than a decade earlier), and most have continued to drop since then. New York's homicide rate aligned fairly closely with California's throughout the entire period of observation.