UN Homicide Report Shows the World Is Not a Safe Place

Recently, this blog has touched on how warfare between nations in the digital era includes cyberattacks. And now, just as we already are feeling less than safe, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (the UNODC) has released some homicide statistics that can make us feel even more vulnerable.

According to the UNODC study, as many as 437,000 people were murdered around the world in 2012 alone. Here’s what else the study found:

Of all of the world’s homicide victims, almost 80 percent were men; 95 percent of the perpetrators were also men.

Practically 15 percent of homicides resulted from domestic violence, and nearly 70 percent of domestic violence fatalities were women.

More than 50 percent of homicide victims were under the age of 30, with children over the age of 15 comprising more than 8 percent of homicides.

On a regional basis, the highest homicide rates are in the Americas and Africa. Indeed, almost half of all global homicides take place in countries that are home to only 11 percent of the world’s population. The lowest homicide rates are in Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

The world’s average murder rate is 6.2 per 100,000 population. But Southern Africa and Central America, with the highest rates in the world, have 30 and 26 homicide victims per 100,000 population.

Of concern is the fact that homicide levels in North Africa, East Africa, and South Asia are rising as a result of political and social instability. In these areas, arms are available and there is weak rule of law.

Whereas homicides associated with gangs and organized criminal groups account for 30 percent of all homicides in the Americas, such homicides account for less than 1 percent in Asia, Europe, and Oceania.

The use of alcohol and drugs increases the risk of homicide perpetration. Indeed, in certain countries more than 50 percent of homicides are carried out under the influence of alcohol.

Firearms are the most widely used murder weapons, causing about 40 percent of homicides worldwide. The use of firearms is notably widespread in the Americas, where two-thirds of homicides are committed with guns.

The worldwide conviction rate for intentional homicide is 43 convictions per 100 homicides. However, the conviction rate is only 24 percent in the Americas, as contrasted with a 48 percent rate in Asia and a 81 percent rate in Europe.

These are sobering statistics, indeed. Hopefully, efforts can be made at various levels to bring homicide rates down and to bring conviction rates up over time.

Eric Sinrod is of counsel in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP, where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. You can read his professional biography here. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod’s columns, please email him at ejsinrod@duanemorris.com with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s law firm or its individual partners.

© 2009- Duane Morris LLP. Duane Morris is a registered service mark of Duane Morris LLP.

The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

Proudly powered by WordPress