The annual report from the Violence Policy Center uses FBI statistics to rank states by female victim and a male offender homicide per 100,000 residents.
That puts New Mexico third in the nation behind South Carolina, with 57 homicides for a 2.32 rate, and Alaska, with eight homicides for a 2.29 rate.
New Mexico’s rank using 2012 data was 38th in the nation with eight such homicides.
“For a very low population state, it doesn’t take an increase of but a couple to change that statistic,” said Lynn GentryWood, executive director of DVRC Inc., an Albuquerque-based domestic violence resource center. “The more important thing is we are very high in domestic violence.”
While the Violence Policy Group is more about gun violence than domestic violence, the group says the overlap is unavoidable.
“What we can say with confidence after 18 years of these reports is that violence against women is a national crisis,” group spokesman Avery Palmer said. “Year after year, more than 90 percent of the women murdered by men are killed by someone they know, and the most common weapon used is a gun.”
In 2013, guns were the fatal weapon in 58 percent of the New Mexico cases in which a weapon could be identified, according to the report.
And 20 of the 21 New Mexican women were killed by someone they knew – 60 percent of them by their current or ex-husband or boyfriend, according to the report.
“Whether New Mexico ranks third, or even first or 50th, in the current statistics related to domestic violence, the important thing to consider is that violence is an underlying problem throughout the country, with violence being committed at high rates not only in New Mexico, but everywhere,” said Pam Wiseman, executive director of the New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The report shows that, in 2013, 1,615 females were murdered by men nationwide, 94 percent by a man they knew and at least 53 percent shot to death.
“The annual rates are a snapshot in time. No single number can provide the full picture on domestic violence within a state, but should be a springboard for advocates and state officials to investigate why a state ranks where it does,” Palmer said.
“At both the federal and state levels, elected officials should act without delay to protect women from abusers. This should include ensuring that men with a history of domestic abuse do not have access to guns.”
New Mexico law does not require background checks for private sales of guns or sales at gunshows.