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Page last modified: Monday, 04-Mar-2013 15:10:15 CST
Tuesday September 02, 2014 04:13:47 PM
|Dept. of Administration / Office of Geographic and Demographic Analysis|
Criminal Justice Statistics Center Links
The Criminal Justice Statistics Center has been transfered to the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
These webpages and datbases are maintained on the Dept. of Administration server for historic purposes,
and because replacement services have not been implemented at the DPS.
The databases on this site are not being updated and contact information for individuals and offices
is likely inaccurate.
Homicide incident database documentation
View report: Minnesota homicides, 1985 to 1997 , January 2002: Findings on statewide, regional and local trends, demographics of offenders and victims involved in homicide (22 p., 608K, PDF 3.0) | report summary
The Criminal Justice Statistics Center at Minnesota Planning obtained homicide data from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to complete analyses and publish a report outlining the results. A file containing Minnesota homicide data from 1985 to 1997 can be downloaded by linking from one of the options at the bottom of this document. Please review this documentation before downloading or put a bookmark at this page for future reference.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting program coordinates and directs the collection of information on each incidence of homicide — justifiable homicide, murder, negligent manslaughter and nonnegligent manslaughter — through Supplementary Homicide Report forms. Specific data recorded for each incident includes the number of victims and offenders involved, county and season of occurrence, law enforcement agency jurisdiction, victim and offender demographics, weapon used, victim-offender relationship and the event surrounding or leading up to the homicide known as the circumstance. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension at the Department of Public Safety is the agency in Minnesota responsible for maintaining the SHR data submitted by law enforcement agencies from across the state.
Minnesota homicide data is available in either dBase (.dbf) or Lotus 1-2-3 (.wk1) file formats. All data is numeric and pertains only to murder and nonnegligent manslaughter. Justifiable homicides and negligent manslaughters — situations that are not willful or premeditated — are not included in the file.
Below are definitions specific to the homicide data files.
adult Any individual age 18 or older.
circumstance Describes the event surrounding or leading up to the commission of a homicide.
colder months October, November, December, January, February and March.
fall September, October and November.
firearm A device that is designed to or may be readily converted to expel any type of projectile. Types of firearms are handguns, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, homemade guns, and air, BB or pellet guns.
homicide The killing of another person. This category includes justifiable homicide, murder, negligent manslaughter and nonnegligent manslaughter.
immediate family member relationship Describes victims who were parents, children or siblings of the offender.
intimate relationship Describes victims who were spouses or intimate partners of the offender.
justifiable homicide Willful killing classified as excusable. The only justifiable homicide is the killing of a criminal by either a peace officer in the line of duty or a private citizen when the criminal is committing certain crimes.
juvenile Any individual under age 18.
knife or cutting instrument Knife, broken bottle, razor, ice pick, screwdriver or other cutting and stabbing instrument employed as a weapon or means of force.
murder The willful, premeditated killing of another person.
negligent manslaughter A death occurring as a result of nonwillful, gross negligence by some person other than the victim. This category does not include traffic fatalities.
nonnegligent manslaughter The willful but not premeditated killing of another person.
other family member relationship Describes victims who were related to their offenders as extended family members such as aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews or grandparents.
personal weapons Arms, feet, fists, hands, teeth and other body parts employed as weapons or means of force.
spring March, April and May.
summer June, July and August.
Twin Cities metropolitan area Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties.
victim-offender relationship Describes each victim’s relationship to the offenders involved in a single incident of homicide.
warmer months April, May, June, July, August and September.
weapon Describes both objects and methods used to commit homicide including unknown firearm types, handguns, rifles, shotguns, other guns, knives or cutting instruments, personal weapons, blunt objects, being pushed or thrown out of a window, explosives, fire, drugs, drowning, strangulation or hanging, asphyxiation and unknown weapon types.
winter December, January and February.
Supplementary Homicide Report incident-level data is voluntarily submitted by law enforcement nationwide through the federal Uniform Crime Reporting program. Information collected through reporting forms does not include deaths caused by traffic fatalities, accidents or suicides. Attempts to kill are considered aggravated assaults. In addition, data in the file is distinct and cannot be linked to data contained in other types of databases or tracked from the incident through subsequent activity in the justice system.
A Minnesota homicide data file for 1985 to 1997 was acquired from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The Criminal Justice Statistics Center worked with the BCA to account for discrepancies in the data file; therefore, totals for various groups and subgroups may not match those published by the BCA in its annual report, Minnesota Crime Information. There also is a significant amount of unknown data across various categories. Missing information may serve to influence yearly changes in activity.
One incident of homicide may comprise multiple victims and multiple offenders. Detailed demographic data regarding each is recorded. Additional incident elements documented include victim-offender relationship, circumstance, weapon used and situation. Incident characteristics are determined through police investigation.
Age, sex, race and ethnicity data is recorded for all victims and offenders. If any of these attributes are unknown, they may be estimated by examining the victim-offender relationship. For example, an incident involving a woman murdered by her husband and son would record the victim-offender relationship as “wife” and “mother.” Race and ethnicity are treated as two different elements and are recorded for each victim and offender. A person of Hispanic descent may be of any race. Ethnicity data was not presented in this report, since a significant portion of this information was missing each year for both offenders and victims.
Racial and ethnic data should be examined carefully because of the varying circumstances under which it is documented. For example, birth records list the child’s race or ethnicity according to the mother regardless of the father’s race or ethnicity. These characteristics also may be recorded from observation or self-identification, or may reflect social custom rather than heredity. Moreover, research controlling for factors such as education level, family status, income, housing density and residential mobility has shown that race and ethnicity are not predictive of criminal behavior.
The victim-offender relationship should be recorded for each offender involved in an incident. After examination of the data file, it appears that this information is not always recorded correctly, most often in multiple victim and multiple offender situations. Law enforcement may simply repeat the same code for all victims involved — in most cases the first victim listed — or do not record all victim relationships. For example, an incident involving two victims and two offenders should have a total of four victim-offender relationships listed, but law enforcement only provide two.
Miscoding frequently occurs regarding the situation. In some cases, true single victim, unknown offender situations were listed as having a single offender. Law enforcement sometimes indicated that offender information was unknown, when only a portion of demographic information was missing. Other situations with only one offender were occasionally recorded as multiple offender incidents.
Caution must be exercised when analyzing the database file provided by the BCA. It should be reviewed record-by-record. In some cases, victims and offenders from the same incident were not paired together, especially single victim, multiple offender and multiple victim, single offender situations. Incidents are identified by a law enforcement ORI number, incident number and incident date. The complex method of identifying incidents precludes simply sorting the data file to link offenders and victims.
Forty-four circumstance categories including “unknown” are available for law enforcement to record on the SHR form. The circumstance describes the events surrounding or leading up to a homicide. Coding of this category may be inconsistent since many descriptions overlap. For example, one incident of homicide may have been argument-related, violated narcotic drug laws and involved gang members; each of these descriptions are available for law enforcement to cite as the homicide circumstance but only one is documented on the form. In addition, lack of complete information about the incident will narrow the circumstance classification. The FBI also does not provide any definitions for the circumstance codes available; therefore, misinterpretation of categories may play a part in further weakening the information. Data fluctuations from year-to-year may be more a reflection of differences in law enforcement documentation techniques than actual changes in activity.
The true extent of alcohol and drug involvement in homicide incidents cannot be
measured with this data set. These substances may have been a factor in a larger number of murders; however, circumstance categories overlap and chemical use by offenders and victims is difficult to ascertain since this information is not documented on reporting forms. In addition, only one circumstance code links use of alcohol or drugs to the incident: “alcohol or drug induced brawl.” Revision of the form to include this information would increase understanding of the elements contributing to the occurrence of homicide. Additional information on offenders and victims such as mental stability, education-level and socio-economic status also is not included on reporting forms. The Traffic Accident Report form, which requires alcohol and drug related information to be documented, as well as others could be used as models for basing SHR modifications.
Study of other areas not examined by this project also could expand knowledge on the incidence of homicide. Social events occurring over the 13-year period as well as shifts in population, changes in legislation, differences in law enforcement practices, gang activity or drug dealing in certain areas and other factors may have influenced the rate of homicide in Minnesota, and across the nation. Concentration on activities within or around particular geographic locations may serve to pinpoint the prevalence of homicide in one area over another.
Field name: ID Size: 4
Description: Unique identification number given to each incident of homicide occurring between 1985 and 1997. One incident of homicide may involve multiple victims and multiple offenders.
Field name: Year Size: 4
Description: Indicates the year in which the incident of homicide occurred.
Field name: Month Size: 2
Description: Identifies the month of the homicide incident.
Field name: Season Size: 2
Description: Describes the season during which the murder was committed.
Field name: County Size: 2
Description: Refers to the specific county where the homicide took place.
Field name: Metrocty Size: 1
Description: Specifies whether the homicide occurred within one of the seven metropolitan area counties of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott or Washington.
Field name: HR Size: 1
Description: Classifies homicides committed in Hennepin and Ramsey counties.
Field name: Sit Size: 1
Description: Pinpoints the type of murder situation by characterizing incidents as having single or multiple victims and offenders.
Field name: Numvic Size: 1
Description: Relays the exact number of victims involved in each homicide incident.
Field name: Numoff Size: 1
Description: Identifies the exact number of offenders involved in each incident of murder.
Field name: Vage1 - Vage5 Size: 3
Description: Indicates the victim’s age at the time of the killing. A single incident involved at least one murder victim; however, some cases had as many as five.
Field name: Vsex1 - Vsex5 Size: 2
Description: Describes each murder victim’s sex. A single incident involved at least one murder victim, however; some cases had as many as five.
Field name: Vrace1 - Vrace5 Size: 2
Description: Refers to the race of the victim. A single incident involved at least one murder victim, however; some cases had as many as five.
Field name: Veth1 - Veth5 Size: 2
Description: Classifies the ethnicity of the homicide victim. A single incident involved at least one murder victim, however, some cases had as many as five.
Field name: Oage1 - Oage10 Size: 3
Description: Designates the age of each homicide offender. A single incident involved at least one offender; however, some cases had as many as 10.
Field name: Osex1 - Osex10 Size: 2
Description: Relays information on the sex of each offender. A single incident involved at least one offender; however, some cases had as many as 10.
Field name: Orace1 - Orace10 Size: 2
Description: Distinguishes each offender’s race. A single incident involved at least one offender; however, some cases had as many as 10.
Field name: Oeth1 - Oeth10 Size: 2
Description: Identifies offender ethnicity. A single incident involved at least one offender, however, some cases had as many as ten.
Field name: Weapon1 - Weapon2 Size: 2
Description: Pertains to the type of weapon or method employed by the offender to commit the homicide. In some cases, more than one weapon was used in the incident.
Field name: Weaponre1 - Weaponre2 Size: 1
Description: Recoding and aggregating weapon types to streamline categories. Pertains to the type of weapon or method employed by the offender to commit the homicide. In some cases, more than one weapon was used in the murder incident.
Field name: Relate1 - Relate14 Size: 2
Description: Characterizes the victim-offender relationship. Each victim’s relationship to each offender involved in a single incident is recorded.
Field name: Circum Size: 2
Description: Details the event surrounding or leading up to the commission of a homicide.
Field name: Circumre Size: 1
Description: Recoding and aggregation of circumstance types to streamline categories. Details the event surrounding or leading up to the commission of the homicide.
Field name: LEA Size: 4
Description: Specifies the law enforcement agency that reported the homicide incident.
Field name: Oage1 - Oage10 Size: 3
Description: Recoding and aggregation of victim single year age categories into five-year age groups to streamline data analysis. A single incident involved at least one murder victim, however, some cases had as many as five.
Field name: Oage1 - Oage10 Size: 3
Description: Recoding and aggregation of offender single year age categories into five-year age groups to streamline data analysis. A single incident involved at least one offender, however, some cases had as many as ten.
Field name: Rel1 - Rel10 Size: 1
Description: Recoding and aggregating relationship categories to streamline data analysis. Characterizes the victim-offender relationship. Each victim’s relationship to each offender involved in a single incident is recorded.
Field name: Vaj1 - Vaj5 Size: 3
Description: Recoding and aggregating victim single-year age categories to identify whether victims were juveniles under age 18 or adults 18 and older. A single incident involved at least one murder victim; however, some cases had as many as five.
Field name: Oaj1 - Oaj10 Size: 3
Description: Recoding and aggregating offender single-year age categories to identify whether offenders were juveniles under 18 or adults 18 and older. A single incident involved at least one homicide offender; however, some cases had as many as 10.
Field name: Temp Size: 2
Description: Characterizes the climate surrounding the occurrence of the homicide.
Field name: Numoff2 Size: 2
Description: Generally describes whether incidents were committed by lone offenders or multiple offenders.
Field name: Numvic2 Size: 1
Description: Provides basic information on the number of victims per incident.
Field name: LEA2 Size: 1
Description: Recoding and aggregating of the law enforcement agency field to streamline categories and pinpoint activity within the jurisdictions of the Minneapolis or St. Paul Police Departments.
Files have been compressed into self-extracting executable dBase IV (.dbf) or Lotus 1-2-3 (.wk1) formats to decrease size. To download, click on the desired file name and designate a location for saving. Once complete, double click on the file name to automatically extract the compressed database file. If you encounter problems downloading the file, click the right mouse button and select the save option.
For more information on Minnesota Supplementary Homicide Report data, contact:
Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Technical problems? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org