Photo: Global Study on Homicide
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has released its first Global Study on Homicide, which shows that young men, particularly in Central and South America, the Caribbean and Central and Southern Africa, are at greatest risk of falling victim to intentional homicide but that women are at greatest risk of murder owing to domestic violence. There is evidence of rising homicide rates in Central America and the Caribbean, which are “near crisis point”, according to the Study.
Firearms are behind rising murder rates in those regions, where almost three quarters of all homicides are committed with guns, compared to 21 per cent in Europe. Men face a much higher risk of violent death (11.9 per 100,000 persons) than women (2.6 per 100,000 persons), although there are variations between countries and regions. In countries with high murder rates, especially involving firearms, such as in Central America, 2 per cent of males aged 20 will be killed before they reach the age of 31 - a rate several hundred times higher than that in some parts of Asia.
Worldwide, 468,000 homicides occurred in 2010. Some 36 per cent of all homicides take place Africa, 31 per cent in the Americas, 27 per cent in Asia, 5 per cent in Europe and 1 per cent in Oceania.
The Study also establishes a clear link between crime and development: countries with wide income disparities are four times more likely to be afflicted by violent crime than more equitable societies. Conversely, economic growth seems to stem that tide, as the past 15 years in South America have shown.
Organized crime, especially drug trafficking, accounted for a quarter of deaths caused by firearms in the Americas, but only some 5 per cent of homicides in Asia and Europe (based on available data).