The Source for Crime and Justice Data

Murder Cases in 33 Large Urban Counties in the United States, 1988 (ICPSR 9907) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):


This study was conducted in an effort to better understand the circumstances surrounding murder cases in large urban areas. To evaluate the 75 largest counties in the nation, 33 counties were chosen. The ranking of these counties was based on a combination of crime data and population data. The criteria for including a case on a roster from which cases would be sampled was that (1) one or more defendants must have been arrested for murder and (2) the case must have been adjudicated during 1988. These cases were a sample of about half of all those in the 33 counties studied that had a murder charge brought to the prosecutors in 1988, or earlier, and that were disposed during 1988. When statistically weighted, the sample cases represent a total of 9,576 murder defendants in the nation's 75 largest counties. Demographic information on victims and defendants includes sex, date of birth, area of residence, and occupation. Variables are also provided on the circumstances of the crime, including the relationship between the victim and the defendant, the type of weapon used, the time of death, and the number of victims.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.


DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Incident Data - Download All Files (1 MB)
DS2:  Defendant Data - Download All Files (3.4 MB)
DS3:  Victim Data - Download All Files (2.1 MB)
DS4:  Offense Data - Download All Files (1.6 MB)
DS6:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Incident Data - Download All Files (0.5 MB)

DS7:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Defendant Data - Download All Files (0.6 MB)

DS8:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Victim Data - Download All Files (0.5 MB)

DS9:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Offense Data - Download All Files (0.6 MB)


Study Description


U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. MURDER CASES IN 33 LARGE URBAN COUNTIES IN THE UNITED STATES, 1988. ICPSR version. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics [producer], 1988. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1996.

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   felony offenses, murder, offenders, population characteristics, urban areas, urban crime

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1988

Date of Collection:  

  • 1990

Universe:   Murder cases adjudicated in 1988 in the 75 largest counties of the United States.

Data Types:   event/transaction data


Sample:   The 33 counties included in this collection were chosen by stratified sampling to represent the 75 largest counties in the nation. In counties with less than 200 murder cases adjudicated in 1988, all cases were chosen. In counties with more than 200 murder cases, random sampling was used to select 200 cases.

Data Source:

murder data from prosecutors' offices


Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 5 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.
  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.
  • 1996-11-21 A variable description list was added to the introduction in the codebook.

Related Publications



Metadata Exports

If you're looking for collection-level metadata rather than an individual metadata record, please visit our Metadata Records page.

Download Statistics