Those who follow the debate on restoring Second Amendment rights have probably heard the other side proclaim some variant of:
“Most victims are murdered by people they know.”
The implication is defending yourself from a murderer is futile, because there is no point in trying to defend yourself from a person who is close to you.
This is a way of lying with statistics.The truth is far different.
Few victims are murdered by someone they live with.
In 2013, this correspondent published an essay on the Misleading Murderer that you Know. The numbers were from 2010. This update uses the latest numbers. They are from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) for 2019.
The most accurate crime statistics involves homicides, particularly murders. The most easily solved homicides are murders of passion between intimates. The hardest homicides to solve are those where there is no connection between the murderer and the victim.
The largest category of victim in the FBI reports of victim relationships to their murderer is unknown. In 2019, those victims are 49% of the total. It is a huge number. Some of this is because FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) are often filed before an investigation is complete. As murders of passion among intimates are the easiest to solve, this means a much higher percentage of strangers and acquaintances fall into the unknown category when the UCR report is filled out.
The clearance rate for murder in 2019 was 59%. This means 41% were not solved. About 84% of the murderers who are unknown by the time of the UCR report remain unknown. It is likely most of the 16% solved are not intimate partner murders. Those that are, are unlikely to have been living with their victim.