An image widely circulating on social media recently claims that in 2018, 10,150 Americans were killed by illegal immigrants, while 194 Americans were killed in mass shootings. As of February, 20 2020, the image has over 200,300 shares and has been posted in at least 500 Facebook groups and pages, according to Crowdtangle (examples here and here )
Both claims are false. While the image does not attribute the statistics to any source, Reuters could not find any official record matching these numbers.
Claim: Illegal immigrants killed 10,150 Americans in 2018
There is no nationwide data on crimes committed specifically by “illegal immigrants”. However, the alleged number of Americans killed as stated in this claim is much higher than any available information on crime.
FBI records show that in the year 2018 the total number of murders and nonnegligent manslaughters in the U.S. was 16,214 (as listed here ). Therefore, for the claimed data to be true, 62% of the homicides of that year would have been committed by “illegal immigrants”. According to the Pew Research Center (here ), “unauthorised immigrants” only represent around 3.2% of the U.S. population.
According to ICE statistics published in ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations Report, in the Fiscal Year 2018 here page 4) (from October 2017 to September 2018) there were 2,028 total offenses for homicide (387 criminal charges 1641 for criminal convictions) committed by aliens in the U.S. The IRS defines aliens as any person who is not a U.S. national (which would include legal and illegal immigrants. The number is even lower for the Fiscal Year 2019 here page 15) with 1,923 total offenses for homicide (374 criminal charges and 1,549 criminal convictions). The Fiscal Year 2018 data was the closest we could find to match the claim of murders “in 2018”. Reuters was unable to find official government data on U.S. homicide statistics committed by illegal immigrants for the calendar year 2018.
While there is no official record that specifically tracks crimes committed by “illegal immigrants” in the U.S., the closest available data available from ICE and the FBI show the claimed number of homicides committed by “illegal immigrants” is, by any imaginable means, exaggerated.
Claim: 194 Americans were killed in mass shootings in 2018
As there is no set definition of “mass shooting”, the statistics on fatalities of these incidents differ among organisations. Reuters could not find any existing record that matched the 194 deaths by mass shootings in 2018 put forth in this claim.
According to the FBI (report here ), in 2018 there were 27 “active shooter incidents” that resulted in 213 casualties excluding the shooters (85 people killed and 128 people injured). The FBI does not use the term “mass shooting”, but “active shooter incidents” (as referenced here ). This refers to incidents of one or more shooters “actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area”, which excludes drug or gang violence and “accidental discharges of a firearm”. Of the 27 incidents of 2018, 10 met the criteria of the definition put forth by the Justice Department of “mass killings”, which is that three or more people were killed in the same incident. (Read the Act here )
A lower number was reported by Mother Jones’ open-source database here . According to the nonprofit, in 2018 there were 12 “mass shootings” that resulted in 80 fatalities and 70 injuries. Mother Jones considers any shooting in public places that result in four of more victims killed by the attacker, excluding armed robbery, gang violence or “those in which the perpetrators have not been identified”.
With a much broader definition of “mass shooting”, the Gun Violence Archive organization (Link to the website
here )recorded 371 killings and 1,336 injuries in 337 incidents in 2018. According to their methodology here , the nonprofit considers any event in which four or more people, not including the shooter, were either shot and killed or shot and wounded. They do not “exclude, set apart, caveat, or differentiate victims based upon the circumstances in which they were shot”.
According to a report by Everytown here , based on police and court records as well as media reports, in 2018 there were 19 “mass shootings” that resulted in 112 fatalities and 45 injuries. The gun control group defines a mass shooting as any incident in which four or more people are shot and killed, excluding the shooter.
While there is no standard definition for “mass shooting” and the numbers vary from outlet to outlet, there is no clear statistic pointing to the claim that in 2018, 194 Americans were killed in mass shootings.
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