The United Nations just released a Global Study on Homicide. According to the study, “young men, particularly in Central and South America, the Caribbean, and southern and central Africa, are at most risk from intentional homicide.” In particular, the raw data shows that the homicide rate is highest in Honduras, El Salvador, Ivory Coast, Jamaica and Venezuela. In terms of sheer numbers, Brazil, India, Mexico and Ethiopia account for just over 1/4 of the world’s homicides.
Worldwide, the homicide rate is 6.9 homicides per 100,000 people and there were 468,000 homicides around the world in 2010. The highest homicide rates in the world are in the following countries:
- Honduras (82.1 per 100,000)
- El Salvador (66)
- Ivory Coast (56.9)
- Jamaica (52.1)
- Venezuela (49)
- Belize (41.7)
- Guatemala (41.4)
- United States Virgin Islands (39.2)
- Saint Kitts and Nevis (38.2)
- Zambia (38)
The homicide rate in the United States was 5, in Canada it was 1.8 and in both the United Kingdom and Australia it was 1.2. There were two countries worldwide that reported no homicides in the last year: Monaco and Palau.
The use of firearms and lack of gun control is an escalating problem in regions with rapidly increasing homicide rates. According to the UN:
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 two regions, where almost three quarters of all homicides are committed with guns, compared to 21 per cent in Europe.
The UN blames organized crime, in particular drug-trafficking, for about one quarter of homicides by firearm. The UN stresses the need for countries to ratify and implement the Firearms Protocol. In Honduras, for example, 83% of homicides are by firearm. In the United States, 60% of homicides are by firearm, whereas in countries with stricter gun control, it is much lower. Examples include Canada (32%), Germany (26.3%) and the United Kingdom (6.6%).
According to the UN, chronic crime is both a result and significant cause of poverty, insecurity and lack of development.
Countries with wide income disparities are 4 times more likely to be afflicted by violent crime than more equitable societies, it says. Conversely, economic growth seems to stem that tide, as the past 15 years in South America have shown.
For young people in countries with wide income disparities, the prospects are not good. Young people are driven to crime and violence, and their life expectancy is significantly decreased. Unless something is done to address the roots of violence and the violence itself, the pattern of escalating violence is likely to continue.
Photo credit: polandeze on flickr