True
Violence Policy Center
Georgia ranks No. 9 in the rate of women murdered by men.

Violence Policy Center on Monday, September 8th, 2014 in an annual study

Study correct on Georgia's gender-based murder rate

Clayton County and Riverdale police on the scene of a fatal shooting on Nov. 14 in Riverdale. AJC photo by John Spink / Jspink@ajc.com

Anyone who follows the constant drum beat of crime news in metro Atlanta might not be surprised by a new study that puts Georgia among the most dangerous states for a very specific crime: women who are murdered by men.

A Violence Policy Center report released in September shows Georgia ranks ninth among all states, with a homicide rate of 1.66 per 100,000 women in 2012, the last year data is available. The national rate is 1.16 per 100,000.

"We call on Georgia’s lawmakers to make it an urgent priority to keep guns away from domestic abusers and protect women from harm," Kathryn Grant, co-founder of GunSense Georgia said in a statement related to the study. "This is literally a matter of life and death."

PolitiFact Georgia wanted to know if our state really ranks that high on the list for women murdered by men.

We went straight to the website for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Supplementary Homicide Reports.

That data showed Georgia had 102 homicides in 2012 – 19 percent more than the 84 tallied in the Violence Policy Center report.

The VPC’s study has a lower overall number because it takes that data and then weeds out crimes with more than one victim or perpetrator, said VPC policy analyst Marty Langley, who authored the report.

An analysis of the SHR data, available only in hard copy from the FBI, confirms those numbers are accurate for incidents where one woman is killed by one man.

James Alan Fox, a Northeastern University criminology professor who has studied and analyzed such data for decades, said the adjustment oversimplifies the information.

Taking a more narrow slice of victims also allows for further analysis of their characteristics such as age (the victim in Georgia was 38) and race (51 were black and 30 were white in Georgia).

And for homicides where the data could be found, 69 percent of victims were killed with guns and 93 percent of them were murdered by someone they knew, the study found.

"An overarching point we want to make with this study is that it’s a myth that a woman’s risk of homicide comes from being attacked by a stranger," said Kristen Rand, the group’s legislative director. "The risk of stranger homicide is really quite low."

But missing from the report is another key fact: the risk of homicide in Georgia is among the highest for any victims. It’s easier to see in lists:

 

Rank

State  

2012 Homicide Rate per 100,000,

Females Murdered by Males

1

Alaska

2.57

2

South Carolina

2.06

3

Oklahoma

2.03

4

Louisiana

1.92

5

Mississippi

1.89

6

Nevada

1.83

7

Missouri

1.73

8

Arizona

1.70

9

Georgia

1.66

10

Tennessee

1.60

(Source: Violence Policy Center)

 

Rank

State

2012 Homicide Rate

per 100,000, Overall

1

Louisiana

10.8

2

Mississippi

7.4

3

Alabama

7.1

4

Michigan

7.0

5

South Carolina

6.9

6

Missouri

6.5

7

Maryland

6.3

8

Delaware

6.2

9

Tennessee

6.0

10 (tie)

Arkansas, Georgia

5.9

(Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics)

 

Southern states such as Georgia dominate both lists, Fox said, because of factors beyond gender.

Gun ownership rates are higher here. The South also has a long history of  people solving personal conflicts with violence versus lawsuits, Fox said.

And, he added, the region is also more diverse than much of the country, and murder rates by and against blacks are higher than those among whites.

"The fact that most of the states on (the VPC) list are in the south is not so much an issue of male-female violence," Fox said. "It’s about homicide, generally."

In summary, the data bears out the study’s findings that rank Georgia ninth in the nation for the rate of women killed by men.

One caveat is that tally counts only single victims and perpetrators. It ignores some crimes it hopes to draw attention to, such as a former partner killing a woman before committing suicide or a man killing his ex-partner and a new love interest, if there are two victims.

More importantly, the tally also fails to acknowledge Georgia’s dismal rank for the risk of homicide overall, and the other factors that contribute to it.

The numbers are right, but it’s also true that there is more to the story.

We rate the claim True.