There were 573 persons murdered in Manhattan (New York) during 1981 for an overall rate of 40.5 per 100,000 population. The male, young, and Black or Latino populations were at higher risk of being homicide victims. For male victims, the homicides were the result of disputes in 37.6 per cent of the cases, drug-related activities in 37.6 per cent, and robbery and other criminal activities in 24.8 per cent of cases. For female victims, homicides resulted from disputes in 62.2 per cent of cases, drug-related activities in 13.8 per cent, and robberies in 20.0 per cent of cases. The observed proportion of homicides related to drug and other criminal activities was higher than has been reported previously in the United States. The role of alcohol continued to be important in homicides related to disputes. The authors stress the importance of differentiating drug-related homicides from those associated with other criminal activities.