09/20/2011 12:05 pm ET Updated Nov 20, 2011

Nevada Ranks #1 in Rate of Women Murdered by Men

For the second year in a row, and for the fourth time in the last five years, Nevada is first in the nation in the rate of women killed by men.

According to When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2009 Homicide Data, a report released each year by my organization, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) for Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, the state's rate of females killed by males in single victim/single offender incidents of 2.70 per 100,000 was more than twice the national rate of 1.25 per 100,000.

Ranked behind Nevada were:

  • Alabama at number 2 with a rate of 2.64 per 100,000;
  • Louisiana at number 3 with a rate of 1.99 per 100,000;
  • Arizona at number 4 with a rate of 1.92 per 100,000;
  • Tennessee at number 5 with a rate of 1.83 per 100,000;
  • Georgia at number 6 with a rate of 1.80 per 100,000;
  • South Carolina at number 7 with a rate of 1.79 per 100,000;
  • South Dakota at number 8 (tie) with a rate of 1.72 per 100,000;
  • Hawaii at number 8 (tie) with a rate of 1.72 per 100,000; and,
  • Missouri at number 10 with a rate of 1.70 per 100,000.

Nationwide, 1,818 females were murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents in 2009 (the most recent year for which data is available).

Where weapon use could be determined, firearms were the most common weapon used by males to murder females (861 of 1,654 homicides or 52 percent). Of these, 69 percent (593 of 861) were committed with handguns.

In cases where the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 93 percent of female victims (1,579 out of 1,693) were murdered by someone they knew. Of these, 63 percent (989 out of 1,579) were wives or intimate acquaintances of their killers.

Nearly 14 times as many females were murdered by a male they knew than were killed by male strangers. In 88 percent of all incidents where the circumstances could be determined, the homicides were not related to the commission of any other felony, such as rape or robbery.

As the study notes in its conclusion: "The picture that emerges from When Men Murder Women is that women face the greatest threat from someone they know, most often a spouse or intimate acquaintance, who is armed with a gun."