Is the US Really 3rd in Murders?

Is the US really 3rd in Murders?

This infographic is posted on Facebook and other social media quite often. Are the numbers put on this image true? There are a few problems with these numbers on this graphic. The first problem is it doesn’t make any specifications, so I’m just going to run the numbers as whole numbers, for the all countries in the world.

I’ve updated this to include both raw numbers, and murder rates per capita. I haven’t made much change in numbers, since the UCR is still at 2012 as the most current numbers.

Raw Numbers

So lets look at the first number, stating that the US is 3rd in the world in murders. The US is actually 8th in the world in murders, at 14,827 in 2012. Ahead of it are [11]:
Brazil:  50,108
India: 43,355
Nigeria: 33,817
Mexico: 26,037
Democratic Republic of the Congo:  18,586
South Africa: 16,259
Venezuela: 16,072

The 2nd part states that removing those 4 cities, Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC, and New Orleans, would move the US from 3rd from top to 4th from last.  Let’s look at the murder numbers from those 4 cities.

Chicago: 532[1]
Detroit: 411[2]
New Orleans: 193 [3]
Washington DC: 88 [4]

Total: 1224, or 8.2% of the total murders for the US in 2012.


Now if you subtract that number from the total, it leaves you with 13,574 murders, and for the 2nd number, the 4th from bottom number, that is even further off than the first number. There are currently 218 nations in the world, after taking out those 4 cities from the total, the following cities are now above the US in total murders:

Columbia: 14,670
Pakistan: 13,846
US: 13,574
China: 13,410

So America moves down 2 places to number 10 in the world. 4th from the bottom of 218 would be 215, leaving this infographic 204 places off of it’s mark.

Another thing to note is that the 4 cities seem to be cherry picked since they aren’t all even the top 4 highest murder cities in the country. Those honors go to:

Chicago: 532 [1]
New York: 419 [5]
Detroit: 411 [2]
Philadelphia: 334 [7]

Now these cities are listed before we even get to New Orleans on the list:

Los Angeles: 299 [6]
Baltimore: 219 [8]
Houston: 217 [9]

Washington DC isn’t even on the list of the top 15 murder cities.

note: for some reason Detroit is listed as having 411 homicides, with 25 of them being “justifiable” homicides and 386 being actual murders. I think the same may be true for Chicago, which the FBI statistics list as only 500 murders for 2012.

Per Capita


So in per-capita murder rate the US is 111th out of 218, not 3rd.  With a murder rate of 4.7 per 100,000, that, depending on the exact population of 2012 that was used, was 14,758 total murders which is pretty close to the total murder number given.


Population 2.7 million
Murders 500
Murder Rate 18.5 / 100k

Population 698,000
Murders 386
Murder Rate 54.6 / 100k

Washington DC
Population 685,000
Murders 88
Murder Rate 13.9 / 100k

New Orleans
Population 390,000
Murders 193
Murder Rate 53.2

US population 314,000
US Murders minus 4 cities above 13591
US Murder rate minus above cities 4.3 / 100k

So, removing the murders from those above cities moves the US from 4.7 / 100k to 4.3 / 100k which changes it from 111th of 218 to 114th of 218.

All of the above numbers come from the FBI Universal Crime Reporting tool [12]


[1] Report: 532 Murdered in Chicago in 2012
2] Detroit Tops 400 Homicides in 2012
3] Murders in New Orleans were slightly fewer in 2012 than 2011
[4] DC 2012 Murder Rate ranked 8th among Nations Most Populated Cities
[5] FBI: Chicago Passes New York as Murder capital of US
[6]  Crime Down in LA for the 10th Straight Year 
[7] Homicides in Philadelphia
8] Baltimore Ranked 6th in murder rate in 2012
9] 2012 Houston Murder Numbers Up Slightly from 2011
10] Table_4_Offenses_Reported_to_Law_Enforcement_by_State_by_City_2012
[11] GSH2013_Homicide_count_and_rate

edit: fixed mistakes, added references

Updated: August 20, 2018 — 12:57 pm


Add a Comment
  1. Where did the stastistics come from? I know this wasn;t true just because I know all murders are not done by guns… DUH right? Anyway I don’t like to pass on info unless I know where the sources come from so could you please let me know? Thanks for debunking!

  2. How are we supposed to believe either version when you can’t even get the numbers consistent in your own debunking? Detroit, is it 436 or 386? that is a 11% difference.

  3. I like where you are going with this, but I agree you have made some careless errors. The first is the inconsistent numbers for Detroit. The second one is you say that there were 14,798 murders and the 1,203 murders in the four cities mentioned are 12.3% of 14,798. It is not. It’s just over 8.1%. I suspect you took the inverse of the actual number, and it fails the quick mental math check.
    Since this is a top hit for debunking this stupid graphic choking my social media feeds it would be awesome if you could clean it up just a little. Keep up the good work. You are on the right track.

  4. Thanks for pointing out my mistakes, I started out with higher aspirations for this blog, but have been really busy and not able to keep up with my projects. In addition I decided after I started to post references to everything I could, but hadn’t gotten to it yet. I’m working on fixing and referencing everything now. Feel free to point out any mistakes, discrepancies, etc.

  5. It seems to me that looking at the total number of murders in this discussion is comparing apples and oranges. The US is more populous than many of the countries mentioned, so one would expect the total number of murders to be greater. If you look at the rate of murder per 1000 citizens you will get a number that is more in line with what the facebook post claims.

    1. Not really, if you look at murder rates the U.S. is nowhere near the “3rd in murders” as the facebook post claims. It’s more like 35 or so. But you’re right, looking at the total number of murders is ridiculous. But that’s what the facebook post appears to be referring to, so that’s what the author of this post had to debunk.

    2. The United States currently has a murder rate of 4.7 per 100,000 citizens, rating 110 highest out of 218. If you remove the 1,224 murders and 4.4 million people from those four cities and you get a murder rate of 4.4 per 100,000 citizens, which would drop us to 113/218.

      So no, it wouldn’t, and stop making claims you haven’t even checked. That’s called lying.

      1. Excellent analysis; even per capita statistics shows this meme is completely flawed, and mythdebunk tackles the other shortcomings. Good critical thinking on all fronts. It’s mind boggling how rife the internet is with misinformation. It’s hard to have any meaningful dialogue about political policy with memes like this being the norm.

      2. “rating 110 highest out of 218 countries worldwide”
        Can you find a single developed country that has worse gun murder rate? Or is being better than the likes of Jamaica, Colombia and Mexico good enough for you. I know it’s not good enough for me.

        1. My intent was to debunk the claim I was responding to with the facts, which I did successfully. I have no idea what makes you think I’m content with our murder rate and don’t think it’s a problem. Are you suggesting more lies will fix the problem or do you agree with me that sticking to the facts will be more likely to lead to solutions that actually work?

  6. Fred J Morgan (Jeff)

    This means we drop down under Russia if we remove the cities with the toughest gun laws… LOL —- Actually THANKS for the debunk.. I hate SPIN and Lies… which means i hate ‘Occupy Democrats’ post.

    1. Yup, and Russia doesn’t allow open or concealed carry, and some of the toughest gun control laws in the world, and less than half the population of America.

      1. um where do you get your facts? these are inline with all the progressively and liberal controlled cities in the US.

        and they are in the process of loosening thier laws through legislative means.

  7. I thought it odd that New York hadn’t made the original 4… not sure what their point was of massaging the data like they did because in the end it remains that the toughest gun law cities are also the highest in violent crime although there seems to be a shift with Chicago as they’ve started enabling their citizens to defend themselves again.

  8. I ran the numbers myself, the result was a bit different, but the facts certainly don’t support the meme going around.

    I only have anecdotal information on this, but New Orleans and Detroit actually have quite lax gun laws despite being Democrat strongholds.

    1. Thanks for this, one of these days I am going to amend and update this with more recent numbers, and per capita numbers, just to cover both bases.

    2. Even if Detroit did have strict gun laws, it would be a result of the gun violence that’s been happening there for a long time. In that instance, what we would really wanna look at is if deaths have decreased, versus just looking at the current number.

      1. Actually, looks like Detroit is a pretty good case study in favor of the people who want more guns, ironically enough:

    3. Both Louisiana, and Michigan have Preemption laws (with caveats). Often, we are comparing State gun laws rather than city gun laws. Violent crime can be more closely correlated with other factors besides gun control (“gun free zones”).

  9. Great post.

  10. WestCoast Wildcats

    It would be interesting to see what the numbers are, if you subtract serial murders, last I heard there was over 60 active serial killers in the U.S. that the FBI knew about and the average amount of people killed by a serial killer is around 12, also murder committed by Organized crime needs to be subtracted, then of course stabbings, poisonings, vehicular homicide etc needs to be subtracted.

  11. I like how this is supposed to be a pro-gun post. I love being on lists with Brazil, India, Nigeria, Mexico, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, and Venezuela. More guns! Wait………

  12. I think the 4 cities listed weren’t listed not because of some error in thinking they had the highest murder rates, but because they are the cities most commonly associated with black people. It helps confirm the bias of black and brown people being the real “bad guys” and “THEY’RE the problem. Not Us.”

    Facebook Infographics — making dumber people dumber, one post at a time.

    1. What makes you so confident that that was his motivation? Lots of other crime ridden cities have black people. In fact, the same Uniform Crime Report used for this article will show a very strong correlation between the crime rate and the percentage of the city that is black. It will also show a very strong inverse relationship between the crime rate and the percentage of the city that is white.

      I think who ever made that “3rd highest” image just picked cities off the top of his head that he knew to be crime ridden.

      He just wanted a lot of clicks without having to do a lot of work.

      1. Those four cities, in the minds of the American public, are VERY synonymous with having black populations, and were chosen for that reason. If you wish to tell yourself that this isn’t the case, by all means…..

        1. Why are you telling yourself that it is the case? The thing doesn’t even mention blacks. You are too confident in your hunches.

          1. They are race baiting you dude. Don’t bite the bait!

      2. Actually, blacks – who are 13% of the population – commit 51% of all murders in America. That’s not being racist. That’s just a fact. The black murder rate is about 7 times higher than for the rest of the population. So it figures that generally the higher the percentage of blacks in a population, the higher the murder rate.

    2. Table 43a, 43B, and 43C on the FBI site shows what “dcanaday” is saying: If you look to the right where it says “Percent Distribution”, and the column marked “Black or African American”, anything over 13% is more than their “fair share” of criminal behavior.

      (Note that when the crime stats show perpetrators you do not see hispanics as a separate category. When the crime stats show victims of crimes, they are separated out as a separate category)

    3. SO you think the fact that these cities have high crime rates is because of their associations with black people?

  13. Nearly 50% of those 14K deaths are self inflicted. Intentional murder is only around 8,000 in the US. Still very high, but not even enough for 8th place.

    1. Actually they are murders. If you add suicides the number is more like 30,000

  14. Using the same data you pulled from …. there was a total of 9,158 Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter.

    So using that data, if you subtract Chicago (500), Detroit (386), Washington DC (88) and New Orleans (193) there would be 7,991 murders.

    1. Just curious how you got that number, when i use the ucr tool i get 14,758

  15. The author said:
    “the following cities are now above the US in total murders:

    Columbia: 14,670
    Pakistan: 13,846
    US: 13,574
    China: 13,410”

    Those are not cities. They are countries.

    Read More Guns, Less Crime, by John Lott, Jr. It deals with facts, statistics, and reality – concepts which Democrats simply cannot deal with. Instead, they just lie.

  16. You seem to have to have missed the most important part of this meme, it’s pro gun. With that in mind all of your stats are wildly inaccurate it your trying to address this one thing. If you want to show this is right or wrong, then you have to only look at gun related statistics.

  17. Pingback: My gun! - Page 2
  18. imo, most of you are missing the point. Most of the deaths caused by guns in the US are a result of suicide. When you remove suicides and gang related homicide, the US falls to the bottom of that list.

    1. The stats don’t include suicides, the numbers would be more like 35,000 not 15,000 if it did. Also, if you remove gang crime from the American stats, you have to remove it from the other countries too, which would likely put the numbers near where they are now.

    2. What’s your point? That Americans should own lots of guns because they are MOSTLY only the cause of suicides and gang murders?

  19. It clearly meant gun deaths (though it’s actually fifth in gun deaths in the stat I found) Gun deaths in the U.s clock in at 32,000 a year. Only a third of that when you exclude suicide(Which only dishonest people don’t) And so gun murders in the u.s tap out at 10-11 thousand a year. If you remove those cities alone however it only drops it by about 4000. Still not number 3. But I’d like to have the chance to calculate where the u.s would rank if we removed all 30 of the top 30 highest murder cities in america, divide the total number by the percentage of murders committed with firearms and then subtracting that from the total gun murders in the us. Here’s that list, .I’ll post the results of my math for you guys if you want to check it. I’m curious to see if they’re mostly or all democrat/republican run or gun free/gun right cities. If it turned out most of them uphold the second amendment I may very well switch my opinion on the matter of gun control, but if most of them have gun control laws would you anti-gunners switch yours? But yeah, this infograph appears to be false in the specifics.

    1. Hey, Richard. Interesting question you pose when you say “I’d like to calculate where the u.s would rank if we removed all 30 of the top 30 highest murder cities in america”.
      I think MY question is JUST as interesting: “What would the murder rate be in America if you outlawed ALL guns?”
      Just curious.

      1. It would be higher due to the civil war it would launch…..


  21. These facts were gathered from the top 100 highest populated countries in the world to debunk your debunking. Go back 3 spaces & start refiguring. !!!!

  22. Abdullah The Sheik of Tikrit

    Negroids amount to half of gun deaths, mostly by shooting each other. 3/4 white gun fatalities are suicides, probably the result of living in cities with negroids and getting sick of it.

    The USA has a gang problem and a thug problem…which is to say a negroid problem. Everyone knows how to solve it…the “solution” is clear and final.


    1. Really, genius? What IS that “solution”? Please spell it out for us.

  23. Removing cities from the stats is just silly. Have those cities left the USA? No. Are they totally cut off from the rest of the country (Trump’s already built walls?!) specifically from the places where guns can be purchased? No.

    You can still travel from city to city and state to state to buy as many guns as you please (or can afford to). Gun shows would be excellent places to get guns. Just bring the money and no questions asked. Or just check online, there are plenty of individuals selling guns. Also no questions asked.

    So removing cities from the stats is a silly, pointless and frankly dishonest excercise.

  24. Murder rates vary by year. There’s probably some year where the selected cities had the highest murder rates.

  25. It’s not the total number of murders in the united States. It’s the total murders with firearms. That’s what that is talking about. So your argument is invalid. Nicely done.

    1. Maybe you should read the meme. It doesn’t say “Murders with firearms” it says “murders”

  26. I know this claim is false… but I’d really like to see the stats if all the extremely liberally dominated cities totals were removed from the overall US total… exactly where would the US fall then? I’m guessing close to last. Do THAT study.

    1. Feel free to do the study and report back.

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