Homicide by the numbers

All told, Richmond saw 41 murders in 2009. We’ve pulled the specifics and put together a few helpful graphs so you can see how things break down…

The Richmond Times Dispatch ran an article this weekend detailing the area’s homicides from 2009. To make things a bit easier to process, we’ve put together a pictorial exploration of the data. If you are interested in crunching the numbers yourself, we’ve also made the Richmond homicide data available as a Google spreadsheet.

All told, Richmond saw 41 murders in 2009, including two killings that were ruled justified — that’s up from 2008’s 36 murders, four of which were also ruled justified. Here’s how the 2009 numbers break down…

Interesting numbers

  • The longest stretch without a killing was 38 days and included the entire month November.
  • There were 28 killings in the first six months of the year but only 12 in the last six months.
  • The average age of victims was 33, while the median was 30. The youngest victim was two, the oldest 56.

’09 homicides by month

Running contrary to conventional Richmond wisdom that the violence rises with the temperature, there were 20 murders in the Spring — just shy of 50% of the year’s total count. Our warmest months saw considerably less activity.

Richmond Homicides in 2009 by month

’09 homicides by area of town

The South Side of Richmond had 43% of the city’s homicides. Notably, the city’s East End had nine homicides, down from 12 in 2008.

Richmond Homicides in 2009 by area of town

’09 homicides by motive

Robberies accounted for 34% of homicides in 2009.

Richmond Homicides in 2009 by type

’09 homicide map

Legend: Red: Abuse, White: Accidental, Blue: Argument, Grey: Domestic, Purple: Drugs, Yellow: Retaliation, Green: Robbery, Black: Unknown

View ’09 homicides in a larger map

Yearly homicides since 1992

Yearly homicides since 1992

This data is available as a public Google Docs spreadsheet.


(Special thanks to John Murden for helping us out with the data.)

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Ross Catrow

Founder and publisher of RVANews.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Matt on said:

    This is the coolest (not homicide, the data breakdown) thing I’ve seen on this site in a long time…maybe ever.

    Good job guys! I feel I have a powerful weapon to combat ignorance about our fair city.

  2. Incase anyone is interested, here is a graph of the cumulative homicides.

    It kind of gives you an idea at the “speed” of homicides over time.

  3. Ross, this is fantastic.

    Could you clarify some stuff in the histogram near the top, though? I don’t see December and, also, I see data for November while you indicated that the 38 day killing-free stretch included the entire month of November.

  4. This is great!

  5. Man, the west side of town is SAFE, no wonder people want to live there.

  6. Great breakdown, but I think you are missing the zero data point for November in your monthly bar chart.

  7. Yeah, my mistake, I forgot to put the 0 in for November, so that collapsed December into November. TYPOS!

  8. Wow. Awesome article. Thanks so much for providing.

  9. Shane on said:

    Nicely done. I’m interested to see with the economic troubles how the statistics for domestic assault and batteries have fared. People are too strapped to leave, so they are staying together and beating each other up. I have plenty of anecdotal evidence looking at the court dockets, but would like to see some hard numbers.

  10. Brando on said:


    No, seriously. This is good.

  11. How many homicides were with guns?

  12. Blake on said:

    It would be interesting to compare this to 2008 and other years. I bet some professors at VCU / UofR would pick up on this and continue the research. Well done Ross.

  13. This is sweet, Ross. Very helpful for figuring out where to purchase a home. Do you have data for Henrico and other surrounding areas?

  14. Alfonso on said:

    Do not get into any arguments on Southside.

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