Our fixation on killing this week — justified or not — made us wonder how murder rates in Florida compared to the rest of the nation over time. So we found out. And mapped it. And animated it.
The FBI maintains records of violent crime, as you might expect, including data on murder and non-negligent manslaughter going back to 1960. We took that data and made the animation below.
The darker the color of the state, the more murders (or manslaughters) in that year. (It's a hard count, not relative to population.) The most murders in a state in a month — 4,096 in California in 1993 — is black. Everything else in every year is on a sliding scale of gray.
(There are some anomalies. For example, there are no data for New York for the first several years.)
As for Florida, here's how it has ranked since 1960: Never ranked higher than third in killings, never lower than sixth.
Update, 6:00 p.m.: By popular demand, we plotted each state's murders by population (specifically, per 100,000 people). Since population data from the Census is only updated every ten years, we approximated the annual population by incrementing between each decadal tally.
In summary: Nevada.