Repository logo

Racial Disparities in Homicide Victimisation Rates: How to Improve Transparency by the Office of National Statistics in England and Wales

Published version

Change log


Kumar, Sumit 
Sherman, Lawrence W 
Strang, Heather 


jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:sec jats:titleResearch Question</jats:title> jats:pHow much racial disparity in trends of homicide victimisation rates in England and Wales is obscured by the failure of official statistics to report rates of death per 100,000 people at risk?</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleData</jats:title> jats:pWe collected two decades of homicide victimisation counts in England and Wales, as broken out for each racial group identified by the Office of National Statistics. We also collected the estimated population size of those groups from the 2001 and 2011 Census.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleMethods</jats:title> jats:pWe divided the number of homicides in each racial category by the estimated population size of that category, by year, for 20 years, and plotted their relationships.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleFindings</jats:title> jats:pWhile White homicide victimisation rates remained low and stable from 2000 through 2019, Black homicide victimisation ranged from 200 to 800% higher than that for the White population during that time period, at an average of 5.6 times higher for Blacks. While Black victimisation dropped by 69% from 2001 to 2012, it almost doubled (79% increase) from 2013 to 2019, rising seven times faster than the White victimisation rate. Asian rates remained stable at about twice as high as White rates. For persons aged 16 to 24, the most recent homicide rate was 24 times higher for Blacks than for Whites.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleConclusion</jats:title> jats:pNone of these rates per 100,000 or ratios has been reported by the Office of National Statistics. If future ONS reporting of homicide rates would include relevant denominators with raw numerators, public understanding of racial disparities in “over-policing” could be informed by potential “under-policing” relative to racial inequalities in homicide risk.</jats:p> </jats:sec>


Funder: University of Cambridge


4805 Legal Systems, 4206 Public Health, 42 Health Sciences, 44 Human Society, 48 Law and Legal Studies, 4402 Criminology, Clinical Research, 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Journal Title

Cambridge Journal of Evidence-Based Policing

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



Springer Science and Business Media LLC