Louisiana’s Female Homicide Rate Remains Fifth Highest in Nation
Louisiana’s rate of women murdered by men has continued its slight downward trend but remains significantly higher than the national average, according to a recent national report. The Washington, D.C. based Violence Policy Center released its annual report on female murder victims, When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of Homicide Data, this week. The report reviews female victims killed by male offenders in single victim/single offender incidents and ranks all states from highest rates to lowest. The 2021 report, which analyzes homicides committed in 2019, ranks Louisiana 5th in the nation. The report also reveals that Louisiana’s rate of women murdered by men remains 85% higher than the national average, at 2.18 homicides per 100,000 females.
Louisiana has led the nation in female homicide rates for some time, with the rate increasing steadily from 2011-2017, then beginning to decrease with 2018 and 2019 data. Mariah Wineski, executive director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, is cautiously optimistic to see two consecutive years of decreasing rates. “After six straight years of increasing female homicide rates, we are certainly encouraged by any decline. However, a rate 85% higher than the national average remains incredibly concerning.”
This is the 24th year that the Violence Policy Center has published When Men Murder Women. Because the report analyzes 2019 data, it does not address potential impacts of COVID-19 and multiple natural disasters on Louisiana’s female homicide rate. The report found that 66% percent of the victims in Louisiana were killed with firearms, higher than the national rate of 58%. The report does not count multiple death incidents or incidents where the perpetrator and victim are of the same sex.
The release of the Violence Policy Center report coincides with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which takes place each year in October. This year, advocates are holding onto hope that they are beginning to see the results of years of policy changes and efforts to prevent domestic homicides. “We are hopeful that the many changes we’ve made statewide to improve victim services and increase accountability for abusers are beginning to make an impact,” Wineski said. Though advocates are encouraged by this reduction, the statistics remain grim for Louisiana women. “Having the fifth highest rate of women murdered indicates a clear need for more focus on this issue. Preventing these deaths should be a top priority for policymakers. If we hope to see a continued downward trend in homicide rates, our state must expand its investment in ending domestic violence.”