Murder statistics at federal level don't represent national crime rates

August 2017

The U.S. Sentencing Commission has found that 9 of the 75 people sentenced for murder in 2014 at the federal level were non-citizens in the country illegally.

But those numbers aren't representative, says Charis Kubrin, professor of criminology, law and society.

The vast majority of murderers are sentenced at the state and local level: the FBI reports there were 14,249 murders total in the U.S. in 2014. That means relying on the commission's tiny federal dataset is dangerous.

The commission’s data is "a very small subset," and most of the serious, violent crime convictions happen at the state level, Kubrin told Politifact. Kubrin recently examined 51 studies on the relationship between immigration and crime, mainly finding no correlation.

"It is misleading to make assumptions, to make inferences (based on the commission’s report) because it’s such unique data," Kubrin said.

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