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Fact check: False data on U.S. racial murder rates

Users on social media are sharing an image that features misleading data on black and white murder rates. Based on existing U.S. government data, all the figures are false.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

The image alleges, for example, that 81% of white murder victims are killed by Blacks. Data from the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice show on the contrary that more than 80% of white murder victims are killed by whites.

Posts with the claim are visible here , here and here .

The image lists the following categories: “whites killing blacks 2%”, “police killing whites 3%”, “whites killing whites 16%”, “blacks killing whites 81%”, “police killing blacks 1%” and “blacks killing blacks 97%”. No dates are specified, and the data is attributed to “stats from Wikipedia”.

In the “Homicide” section of Wikipedia’s Race and Crime in the United States entry here , the site quotes a report by the U.S. Department of Justice visible here (see page 13). The report, which analyzes Homicide Trends in the U.S. between 1980-2008, found that within that period “most murders were intraracial”, with 84% of white victims killed by whites and 93% of Black victims killed by Black perpetrators.

According to the FBI’s Expanded Homicide data from 2018, the most recent report of this kind Reuters was able to find ( here ), 80.7% of the murders of white people were committed by white offenders (2,677 of a total of 3,315) while 15.5% of the murders of white people were committed by Black offenders (514).

The social media post also alleges white offenders committed 2% of the murders of Black victims. According to the FBI’s data, 8% of the reported murders of Black people were committed by white offenders (234 of a total of 2,925) and 88.9% by Black offenders (2,600).

FBI data from 2017 also follows this trend: 80.2% of white victims were killed by white offenders, 8.9% of Black victims were killed by whites, 88.5% of Black victims were killed by Blacks, and 16.1% of whites were killed by Blacks ( here ).

A Reuters Fact Check visible here shows that FBI data for 2013 also maintained this trend.

VERDICT

False. FBI data does not support the numbers put forth in this claim on interracial crime and police killings. Most U.S. murders for white and Black victims are intraracial.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .

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