New Study Finds Pennsylvania Ranked 6th in Black Homicides in the US


A study published by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) found that out of 50 states in 2013 studied, Pennsylvania was ranked the sixth highest state for black homicide. The study also found that a gun is the most used weapon to kill black victims of homicide. The homicide rate among black victims in Pennsylvania was 26.11 per 100,000 in 2013 according to the new study.


The VPC studied unpublished data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Supplementary Homicide Report. Researchers investigated the homicide rate in 2013 because it is the most recent year for which comprehensive national data is available.


In 2013, there were 6,217 black homicide victims in the United States. Blacks represent 13 percent of the U.S. population yet account for 50 percent of all homicide victims. The study found that of those 6,217 black homicide victims, 84 percent were killed with guns, most often a handgun.


The 10 states with the highest black homicide victimization rates in 2013 were:

In Pennsylvania, there were 384 black homicide victims in 2013. When broken down, 28 of those homicide victims were less than 18 years old while 5 victims were 65 years of age or older. The study found that the average age of the victims was 30 years old. When taking a closer look at the victims, 351 were male and 33 were female.


For homicides in which the weapon used could be identified, in Pennsylvania 89 percent of the victims (319 out of 359) were shot and killed with guns. Specifically, 81 percent (258 out of 319) of those killed by guns were killed by handguns. For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified in Pennsylvania, 85 percent of victims (123 out of 145) were killed by someone they knew. Twenty-two victims were killed by strangers.


Pennsylvania needs to take a stand against gun violence. While we hope that this report will inspire our elected officials, most of them will not read this report or are even aware of the situation. Please visit, call or email your legislators to let them know you care about keeping Pennsylvania safe and that gun violence prevention measures are important to you.


If you need help on how to do this, contact us at or call 215-923-3151.

If you want to read the report for yourself you can find it here.

Facing the truth about gun violence in PA