What Does 187 Mean? – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a way to describe a homicide or murder? You could use the official police code "187" to describe the event. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The number "187" is the police code for homicide or murder. The number comes from California Penal Code Section 187, detailing and defining the term murder in the eyes of the law.

"187 on an undercover cop" was a track title on Dr. Dre's 1992 album, "The Chronic." Dre and Snoop are credited with making the code a universally understood number for murder.

"187" was also the movie title starring Samuel L. Jackson.

In numerology, 187 is associated with determining your future goals. It represents introspection and brings about independent, analytical energy.

Example Usage

“I just listened to Dre’s new album. That track with Snoop ‘187 on an undercover cop” is too hot. It’s a masterpiece of hip hop. I’m not surprised it’s so popular nearly 30-years after its release.”

“If you hear a cop reporting a 187 on his radio, leave the area. There’s a murder nearby, and the killer could be on the loose.”

“That guy was walking across the street when someone stepped behind him and shot him dead. That was a proper gang-affiliated 187. This neighborhood is going to the dogs.”

“Dispatch, this is officer Reynolds. We have a 187 in Deer Park. I repeat, a 187 in Deer Park. Send backup. We’re chasing the suspect on foot.”

“That move 187 was some exciting stuff. Sam Jackson played the part of a frustrated school teacher so well. He should have earned an Oscar for that role.”

“Come around our hood, homes, and we’ll ice you. The cops will be screaming 187 over the radios, and your fam will be crying. Stay away.”


The police code “187” means homicide or murder. The slang use of the term comes from Section 187 of the United States California Penal Code. The legislation reads as follows.

(a) Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.

(b) This section shall not apply to any person who commits an act that results in the death of a fetus if any of the following apply:

(1) The act complied with the Therapeutic Abortion Act, Article 2 (commencing with Section 123400) of Chapter 2 of Part 2 of Division 106 of the Health and Safety Code.

(2) The act was committed by a holder of a physician’s and surgeon’s certificate, as defined in the Business and Professions Code, in a case where, to a medical certainty, the result of childbirth would be the death of the mother of the fetus or where her death from childbirth, although not medically certain, would be substantially certain or more likely than not.

(3) The act was solicited, aided, abetted, or consented to by the fetus's mother.

(c) Subdivision (b) shall not be construed to prohibit the prosecution of any person under any other provision of law.

Phrases Similar to 187

  • Murder.
  • Homicide.

Phrases Opposite to 187

  • Live and let live.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • 187

Ways People May Say 187 Incorrectly

Some people may use the 187 code for other reasons than reporting a murder. The code doesn’t stand for anything else in Californian law.

When you’re calling the police, you’ll report a murder as murder. You won’t use the code. Only police officers use the code when reporting to their command or dispatch.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase 187

You can use the term “187” when describing a murder. It’s the police code for homicide, and it also acts as a spiritual number for people that believe in numerology. You can use the saying in social conversations or on the phone with the police. If you call the police and tell them there is a 187 in your apartment building, they will likely confirm you’re reporting a murder.

Thanks to its use in hip-hop lyrics, the term has a universal reach. People in countries around the globe know that 187 stands for murder. The release of the Samuel Jackson film “187” and Dr. Dre’s album “The Chronic” spread the use of the code around the globe.

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