Professor of Justice, Law & Criminology, American University
- Almost half (48%) of elderly homicide victims were between the ages of 65-74.
- More than 43% of elderly homicide victims that were over 65 were female.
- Twenty-one percent of elderly victims were killed by a family member.
- Elderly victims of homicide were most likely to be killed in their homes.
- The 85+ age group has a greater chance of being killed with a personal weapon.
In the article, “Who You Calling Old? Measuring “Elderly” and What it Means for Homicide Research,” Addington examines the relationship between age and risk of homicide. Past research indicates that as people age, they are less likely to experience crime with an exception in “elderly” individuals, where the risk of crime is growing. The most common definition of elderly is 65 and older, but as individuals are living longer and healthier lives, that definition may no longer be accurate. Addington conducted her research by using data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) from 2007 to 2008. Age was categorized into three groups: young old (65-74), aged (74-84), and oldest old (85+). The results showed that almost half (48%) of elderly homicide victims were between the ages of 65-74. More than 43% of elderly homicide victims that were over 65 were female. Significantly, 21% of elderly victims are killed by a family member. Elderly victims of homicide were most likely to be killed in their homes. Finally, data showed the 85+ age group has a greater chance of being killed with a personal weapon. Addington notes that as the over 65 group grows in size and diversity, more research is needed to understand why the “elderly” are violently victimized.