In this report, we assess total and race/ethnicity-disaggregated patterns and temporal trends in elderly homicide (age 55-74) compared with younger age groups for the 1985-to-2009 period. To do this, we use California arrest statistics that provide annual homicide figures by race and ethnicity (including a Hispanic identifier) and by age. Major aims of our analysis are to establish whether (a) elderly homicide rates are different/similar across race/ethnic comparisons; (b) the elderly share of homicide and age-homicide distributions more generally differ across race/ethnicity; and (c) elderly rates of homicide and the share of elderly homicide relative to younger age groups is similar or different now as compared with 20 to 30 years ago. Our analysis is important and timely because some commentators have suggested that elderly homicide levels have been rising over the past one to two decades and because there is a virtual absence of research of any sort on elderly homicide trends that involve comparisons by race and ethnicity. Key findings are that elderly shares of homicide offending relative to younger ages have not increased (or decreased), that elder homicides continue to account for a small fraction of all homicides, and that these patterns persist across race/ethnicity comparisons.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Psychology (miscellaneous)