Wednesday, March 22, 2023



FACT CHECK: How true is Aregebesola’s claim that people are murdered per second in the US?

FACT CHECK: How true is Aregebesola’s claim that people are murdered per second in the US?
January 27
15:13 2023

Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, says that people get killed every second in the United States.

The minister made this comment while speaking on Thursday at a ministerial press briefing in Abuja.

While responding to a question touching on the increase in jailbreaks in the country, the minister said “it is the season”, adding that it is not a challenge peculiar to Nigeria only.

He said the high level of insecurity, among other factors, contributed to the breakouts, adding that the increase in such occurrences is across the world.


“Why are we having assassinations in America? Bad as it is, it is horrible but in America, people get killed every second…. in California. Within the last week in America 20 people have been killed, did you ask why? It has nothing to do with technology, it could even be linked to climate change,” he said.

TheCable checked the veracity of the claim and here is what we found. 



On January 26, within a space of 44 hours, the US recorded three mass shootings that lead to the loss of 19 lives, all in California.

In the month of January alone, the US has suffered 40 mass shootings. Gavin Newsom, governor of California, said the 2023 record is more than any other start-of-the-year record. This establishes the fact that mass shooting is on the rise in America.

Going by Aregbesola’s statement that people are murdered per second in the US, that would imply that a total of 86,400 deaths are recorded each day, and over 31 million deaths each year.



Defining the term mass shooting is neither here nor there, as there is no single agreed-upon definition for the term yet. Depending on factors such as the number of victims and the circumstances of the shooting, the definition differs.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which collects data on active shooter incidents, defines it as a case where one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.

Going by the FBI’s definition, 38 people excluding the shooters were killed in a mass shooting incident in 2020.


The Gun Violence Archive defines mass shootings as incidents in which four or more people are shot, even if no one was killed – excluding the shooters. In line with this definition, given by the online database, 513 people died in these incidents in 2020.



Homicide is simply the killing of one person by another including legal and illegal killings. In some cases, the killing of another person does not constitute a crime.  Murder is the illegal killing of another person with malice aforethought or the intention to do evil.  

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2020, more than 19,000 deaths in the US were homicides, representing a 34% increase from 2019, and a 75% increase over the course of the previous decade. Doing the maths, this shows that in 2020, about  53 people were killed each day by a firearm in the US.



According to the CDC, 45,222 people died in 2020 as a result of gun-related injuries, including gun murder and gun suicide cases.



In 2020, the number of deaths in the US was a record-setting figure.  Data provided by the CDC and national centre for health statistics revealed that 3.383 million people died in 2020, making the year one of the deadliest years in US history.

As at the end of 2020, the death figure was the largest single-year percentage increase since 1918, when thousands of American soldiers died in World War 1 and the pandemic flu. 

In 2022, after comprehensive data compilation, it was later discovered that so far, 2021 was the deadliest year in the history of the US.  A total of 3.465 million deaths were recorded, about 80,000 above 2020’s record.

Robert Anderson, who leads the CDC on death statistics, was quoted to have said the main reason for the increase in 2021 deaths was COVID-19. However, apart from the coronavirus, data shows that the death rate for cancer, diabetes, chronic liver disease and stroke increased.


The statement by Aregbesola that people are murdered per second in the US is highly exaggerated. There is no empirical or historical evidence to buttress the claim that over 31 million people die daily in a country with 333.287 million citizens

This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.


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