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What Are The Chances Of Being Murdered

by Kristin Beck
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What Are The Chances Of Being Murdered

What Are The Chances Of Being Murdered

“If you’re like me you probably have an image in your head about what it’s like to be murdered. It starts out as a dreamy scene that looks something like this: You are walking down the street minding your own business when suddenly someone grabs you from behind and stabs you repeatedly until you die. Then, once they’ve wiped your blood off their hands, they casually walk away without even looking back. They leave you dead where you lay; there is no one around to see what happened or hear your cries for help. Your body will eventually be discovered by some homeless person who won’t think twice about giving you a proper burial because he has his own problems to worry about.
That scene may not happen every day but if it did we’d likely never forget it. In fact, according to FBI statistics, more people were killed in 2009 by other humans than ever before. And based on the data from a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report, murders accounted for only 0.5% of all deaths in 2010. With those stats alone you might think that being murdered would be pretty rare occurrence. But the odds of actually dying from murder are much higher than you might imagine.
The CDC defines “”homicide”” as death resulting from interpersonal violence between two individuals. Homicides can be broken into several categories including murder-suicide, mutual combat, war, and legal executions such as hanging, lethal injection, etc. While homicides account for less than 1 percent of all deaths each year, the odds of being murdered in a given year are staggering – especially considering how infrequently these crimes occur. According to the CDC, the probability of being murdered during any given year is 1 in 18,989. That means if you were born today your chances of being murdered within your lifetime are almost equal to winning the lottery jackpot six times over. If you’re under 30 years old your chances increase exponentially. For instance, if you’re a teenager your odds of being killed are estimated at 1 in 7,921 while if you’re 80 years old your chance is 1 in 4,869.
So why do so many people seem to believe that being murdered is way too common of an event? Well, perhaps it’s because most people know someone who was murdered. One study showed that approximately 2 million Americans lost a loved one to homicide in 2006. Or maybe it’s because we tend to sensationalize violent crime stories in the media. Remember OJ Simpson and Nicole Brown? The public’s obsession with celebrity murder trials certainly doesn’t help either. In addition to all of that, there’s also the possibility that simply thinking about being murdered causes us to feel guilty and therefore subconsciously make negative changes in our behavior. Some researchers suggest that feeling vulnerable to becoming a victim can cause people to become more cautious, which sometimes leads them to adopt poor safety practices. This could explain why some studies show that women are safer drivers than men, why drunk drivers are more prone to get injured in car accidents, and why more kids play outside unsupervised among other things.
Regardless of what you personally believe, here are some shocking facts that should give you pause for thought if you haven’t already done so.
According to the National Safety Council, alcohol plays a role in nearly half of all injury related fatalities.

In 2008, falls were responsible for about 15% of all injury related hospitalizations.

Motor vehicle crashes resulted in 563,000 injuries and 14,000 deaths annually.

Homicides caused the greatest number of deaths per capita in 2007.

More children died in motor vehicle incidents in 2005 than soldiers died fighting wars in 2003.

 

And last but certainly not least…
Being struck by lightning accounts for about 500 deaths per year. More people perish from bee stings than cancer.
Now I don’t mean to scare you. These numbers aren’t meant to discourage anyone, just to serve as a reminder that you shouldn’t take your life for granted. We need to keep our eyes open and remain aware of potential threats to both our physical health and well-being.
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