Homicide: A global overview of murders in 2012

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10 April 2014 - 437,000 people were murdered worldwide in 2012 according to a report released today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Homicide is one of the most accurate indicators for measuring violence. The aim of the Global Study of Homicide 2013 report is to understand criminal violence by looking into where homicide occurs, who is at risk and why. The impact of homicide goes beyond the loss of human life, since it can affect the feeling of security, and therefore is a very important measure to shed a light on security and justice in society.

The report concludes that 80 percent of homicide victims were men, as were 95 percent of the perpetrators. However, when homicides stem from domestic violence, which account for about 15 percent of all homicide, it turns out that 70 % of the victims in these cases are women. While women are most at risk to be killed by people they know, the same does not apply for men who are most often killed by strangers. The male homicide rate is almost four times higher than that of females and 1 in 7 of all murders worldwide is a young male. Half of all homicide victims are under 30 years of age, especially in South America and Central America where homicides are more than four times higher than the global average rate.

The global average murder rate is 6.2 per 100.000 people. In the south of Africa and in Central America, however, the rates are much higher, being 30 and 26 respectively. 36 percent of homicides committed worldwide, occurred in the Americas. Meanwhile, on the positive side, East Asia, Southern Europe and Western Europe have recorded the lowest rate in 2012. The global percentage of homicides committed in Europe is 5 percent. For Oceania it is 0.3 percent, which is the lowest rate worldwide. The rate of homicides in Eastern Asia and Western and Southern Europe is still declining, while the rate is increasing in North Africa

Post-conflict societies where weapons are easily obtainable, and the climate is conducive for organized crime, are most at risk. Firearms are the world’s most widely used murder weapons causing 4 in 10 homicides. The global conviction rate for intentional homicide is of 43 convictions per 100 homicides. However, disparities exist across regions, with a conviction rate of 24 per cent in the Americas, 48 per cent in Asia and 81 per cent in Europe.