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.
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 :
Democratic Republic of the Congo: 18,586
South Africa: 16,259
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.
New Orleans: 193 
Washington DC: 88 
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:
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 
New York: 419 
Detroit: 411 
Philadelphia: 334 
Now these cities are listed before we even get to New Orleans on the list:
Los Angeles: 299 
Baltimore: 219 
Houston: 217 
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.
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
Murder Rate 18.5 / 100k
Murder Rate 54.6 / 100k
Murder Rate 13.9 / 100k
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 
 Report: 532 Murdered in Chicago in 2012
 Detroit Tops 400 Homicides in 2012
 Murders in New Orleans were slightly fewer in 2012 than 2011
 DC 2012 Murder Rate ranked 8th among Nations Most Populated Cities
 FBI: Chicago Passes New York as Murder capital of US
 Crime Down in LA for the 10th Straight Year
 Homicides in Philadelphia
 Baltimore Ranked 6th in murder rate in 2012
 2012 Houston Murder Numbers Up Slightly from 2011
edit: fixed mistakes, added references