Data Tracker

Here’s where and how California youths are most often murdered

The recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla., left 14 youths dead and reignited a debate about gun control.

In California, about that many youths have been murdered by other people every three weeks, on average, during the past 30 years. Most of the deaths involve firearms. Because such killings are common, they receive much less attention than a mass school shooting.

The Bee analyzed a California Department of Justice homicide database that lists every homicide during the past 30 years, isolating murders and non-negligent manslaughters involving youth. Deaths due to accidents, suicide and manslaughter attributed to negligence were not included.

The analysis showed that:

Roughly 8,600 Californians under age 18 were murdered between 1987 and 2016.

Youth homicides peaked during the gang violence of the early 1990s and then dropped significantly, though more than 100 children are still murdered in California each year.

The most common motive for youth murders was gang violence.

Firearms were used in more than two thirds of youth murders.

Among cities, youth murders are most common in Compton in Los Angeles County. The county also has the highest rate of youths killed in the state.

Blacks were nine times as likely as whites to be a youth murder victim. Hispanics were nearly three times as likely as whites to be a youth murder victim.

Phillip Reese is the Bee’s data specialist and teaches at Sacramento State: 916-321-1137

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