Resource Guide
Homicide Data Resource Guide

Purpose of the Resource Guide

This Homicide Data Resource Guide was designed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) staff to provide easy access to data collections related to homicide. For instance, it provides quick links to certain types of homicide studies and links to studies available for online data analysis. This resource guide also provides useful information for secondary analysis of NACJD data collections, such as customized help for complex data collections, information on how to obtain restricted access data, and links to funding opportunities and publications.

Overview of Homicide Data Available from NACJD

Homicide-related data collections at the NACJD can be grouped into three general categories:

  1. Studies focused specifically on homicide
  2. Studies in which homicide is one of many offense types or categories
  3. Data collections about capital punishment in which the offense for which sentences are given is often homicide

These three groups can be further subdivided into data collections that are gathered annually or periodically (serial collections), and data collections that resulted from one-time studies.

Homicide Data Collection Highlights

  1. In the first group of studies, those focused exclusively on homicide, are two major serial data collections:
    • U.S. Department of Justice. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
      Supplementary Homicide Reports

      These homicide incident data are compiled by law enforcement agencies and submitted to the FBI. The SHR data contain information about characteristics of the victim, the offender, the offender's relationship to the victim, weapon use, location, circumstances, and jurisdiction of the offense.

    • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics
      Multiple Cause of Death

      These data are produced from death certificates recorded in the nation's vital statistics system. Data are provided concerning underlying causes of death, multiple conditions that caused the death, place of death, residence of the deceased (e.g., region, division, state, county), whether an autopsy was performed, and the month and day of the week of the death. In addition, data are supplied on the sex, race, age, marital status, education, usual occupation, and origin or descent of the deceased.

    Important one-time studies that focused exclusively on homicide include:

  2. In the second group of studies, in which homicide is one of a number of offense types, the most important serial collections come from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program data and include agency-level reports of:

    Homicide as an offense type also appears in two other serial collections:

  3. In the third group of studies, those focused on capital punishment and sentencing, is an annual data series:

    Important one-time studies in this collection include:

Two Death Penalty Studies Released as Restricted Data

The National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) announces the release of information from two studies of the federal death penalty system sponsored by the National Institute of Justice.

Klein, Stephen P. and Richard A. Berk
Race and the Decision to Seek the Death Penalty in Federal Cases, 1995-2000 [United States] (ICPSR 4533)

The purpose of this project was to examine possible defendant and victim race effects in capital decisions in the federal system. RAND researchers selected cases received by the Department of Justice Capital Cases Unit (CCU) between January 1, 1995, and July 31, 2000. These cases were handled under the revised Death Penalty Protocol of 1995, and were processed during Attorney General (AG) Janet Reno's term in office. The database contains 312 cases for which defendant- and victim-race data were available from 71 federal judicial districts in 40 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The database was structured to allow researchers to examine two stages in the federal prosecution process, namely the U.S. Attorney's Office recommendation to seek or not to seek the death penalty and the final AG charging decision. Data are available through the NACJD restricted data access procedures.

Newton, Phyllis J., Candace M. Johnson, and Timothy M. Mulcahy
Investigation and Prosecution of Homicide Cases in the United States, 1995-2000: The Process for Federal Involvement (ICPSR 4540)

This study addressed questions related to potential geographic and racial disparity in the investigation and prosecution of federal capital cases and examined the process by which criminal cases, especially homicide cases, enter the federal criminal justice system. Between 2000 and 2004, face-to-face interviews were conducted with all criminal justice officials in the state and federal criminal justice systems in nine federal districts who potentially would play a role in determining whether a homicide case was investigated and prosecuted in the state or federal systems. The technical report is available through the NACJD's restricted data access procedures. Data are forthcoming and will be available through use of the ICPSR Data Enclave.

Quick Links to Homicide Data

Online Survey Documentation and Analysis

A selection of NACJD data collections is available for use with our online Survey Documentation and Analysis (SDA). This means that users can perform the following tasks without having to download the entire collection and importing it into a statistical package:

  • Search for variables of interest in a dataset
  • Review frequencies or summary statistics of key variables to determine what further analyses are appropriate
  • Review frequencies or summary statistics for missing data
  • Produce simple summary statistics for reports
  • Create statistical tables from raw data
  • Create a subset of cases or variables from a particularly large collection to save downloading time and space on a personal computer

Homicide data collections available for online analysis

Learn more about the online analysis system

Help with Individual Data Collections

NACJD is developing specialized web pages to help data users analyze some data collections. These pages are currently available for the following studies:

Homicides in Chicago, 1965-1995 (ICPSR 6399)

Chicago Women's Health Risk Study (ICPSR 3002)

Human Subjects Issues

NACJD employs a variety of measures to ensure that subject confidentiality is preserved in all of our data collections. Since dta collected about homicide can be sensitive, some homicide-related data collections are restricted from general access. This means that these data are still freely available to the public, but they cannot simply be downloaded from the NACJD website.

Access to restricted data collections is possible through a written request to NACJD. Using a Data Transfer Agreement, available online as a PDF file, prospective data users must certify in writing that the data will be used for research or statistical purposes only, and that the confidentiality of respondents or subjects will be protected. More information about the procedures for accessing these data is available on the Restricted Access Data Archive web page.


NACJD makes criminal justice data available to the public for secondary analysis. We do not generally archive, produce, or distribute published reports, statistics, charts, or other analyses based upon data holdings.

Users interested in such publications can search our online database of citations for publications related to NACJD data collections. Some publications listed in the online database are available in either paper hardcopy or electronic form from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service at

Overview of Data Resources Program

A number of data collections highlighted in this online resource guide are available through the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Data Resources Program (DRP). In 1984 NIJ established the DRP to ensure the preservation and availability of research and evaluation data collected through NIJ-funded research. NACJD archives these data collections to support new research, replicate original findings, or test new hypotheses based on existing NIJ-funded data collections.

Departments within the U.S. Government

Associations & Organizations

Criminal Justice Information Sites