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When Do Homicides Usually Happen? A Breakdown By Month, Week, And Hour

The odds of getting murdered vary by time, day, and season, according to life and death data.

A spooky country road, going into the distance with street lights, glowing on a moody foggy night

When do most murders happen? It’s a question that not just criminologists think about, but many people as they go about their daily lives.

It’s also a question related to Oxygen’s “Murdered by Morning,” which returns for its second season on Saturday, May 7 at 8/7c. The series explores cases of individuals who were unaware that a seemingly ordinary night would end up being their last. 

Shanae Wesley, a 23-year-old single mother in small town Murrieta, California, met such a fate. After a night out with friends on October 30, 2012, she had been killed. Her story is showcased in the series’ season 2 premiere.

While violence occurs throughout the day and year — and vigilance is needed 24/7 — here are some findings about when murders happen.

Deadliest hour 

It turns out that many murders happen after midnight and into the wee hours. Crimeinamerica.com, which analyzes federal and state criminality data, concluded after reviewing 2018 FBI data that the deadliest time of day is midnight-1:00 a.m. Homicide figures stayed relatively high until 3 a.m.

We are talking about a massive amount of data thus the findings remain relevant,” crimeinamerica.com site administrator Leonard Sipes, a former senior specialist for crime prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse, told Oxygen. 

More recently, Denver Police Department homicide figures showed that the wee hours were indeed most deadly. Of the 96 Denver homicides during 2021, more than a third, or 35, took place between midnight and 5 a.m., reported westword.com

Most murderous month 

Over the course of the year, homicide rates typically rise along with the temperature. May through August have the highest violent crime numbers, crimeinamerica.com reported. June emerged as the deadliest month. 

Most dangerous day of the week 

Sunday is the day in which Americans are likeliest to be murdered, according to the American Council on Science and Health, a pro-science consumer advocacy organization. The report was based on CDC mortality data. (ACSH has not returned to this topic since posting that 2017 article, according to a spokesman.)

Across the U.S., a 2015 state-by-state study about gun violence by The Week also found that Sunday was the deadliest day of the week: “A full 20 states showed Sunday as the most fatal day of the week for gun deaths,” the outlet reported.

Monday was the safest day of the week.

For more on true crime, watch “Murdered by Morning,” airing Saturday, May 7 at 8/7c on Oxygen.

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