Despite being home to the greatest number of 10- to 24-year-olds murdered in California, Los Angeles County actually ranked No. 6 in the state for the highest youth murder rate per capita in 2009, according to a report released Monday.

The study, “Lost Youth: A County-by-County Analysis of 2009 California Homicide Victims Ages 10 to 24,” breaks down murder stats by gender, race/ethnicity, and weapon used

Perhaps it comes as no surprise to learn that if you were a white girl your chances of being murdered around LA in 2009 were fairly low.

If you were a Hispanic or Black male, on the other hand, well, the potential for being a murder victim was a far more grim.

According to the study, published by the Violence Policy Center, Monterey County led the state with a youth murder rate of just over 31 per 100,000 people. LA County scored a rate of 14.6 murders per 100,000 people.

The average across the state was 10.4.

Guys accounted for 90 percent of the 303 murder victims in LA County. Hispanics made up 60 percent, 34 percent were black, and whites and Asians made up 2 percent each.

All of the race and ethnicity numbers for LA County closely mirrored those of California as a whole, and were within 4 percentage points of the state averages. That is except for white people.

Throughout the state, Caucasians accounted for 10 percent of all youth murder victims, whereas they only accounted for 2 percent of the victims in LA County.

There also was a higher percentage of handgun murders in LA County compared to all of California.

Locally, 89 percent of youth murders involved guns. Of those, 90 percent were handguns.

In California as a whole, 84 percent of youth murders involved guns, and of those only 76 were handguns.

The authors of the report point out that these stats “demonstrate that effective violence prevention strategies must include measures that prioritize preventing youth and young adults from accessing firearms, especially handguns.”

After all, the study points out, most of the youths included in the report – those under 21 – “cannot legally posses a handgun.”

In conclusion, the report states that the data “point to the continuing urgent need for tailored, localized approaches to reducing youth homicide….”


The top 10 counties with each county's corresponding homicide victimization rate for its population of Californians ages 10 to 24 are:  

1) Monterey County, 31.24 per 100,000

2) Alameda County, 20.69 per 100,000

3) Kern County, 19.98 per 100,000

4) Contra Costa County, 19.17 per 100,000

5) Tulare County, 15.31 per 100,000

6) Los Angeles County, 14.61 per 100,000

7) San Joaquin County, 13.86 per 100,000

8) Stanislaus County, 13.49 per 100,000

9) Merced County, 12.87 per 100,000

10) Solano County, 12.59 per 100,000


-State overall rate for 10- to 24-year-olds:  10.48 per 100,000.

– Victim Policy Center

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