Global Study on Homicide

According to the latest figures released by the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), over 437,000 people lost their lives in 2012 as a result of homicide.

Speaking at the launch of the Global Study on Homicide, the Director for Policy Analysis and Public Affaris and UNODC said:

Too many lives are being tragically cut short, too many families and communities are left shattered. There is an urgent need to understand how violence crime is plaguing countries around the world...

Who and where are the victims?

An analysis of the data shows that 8 out of every 10 homicide victims are male, and 90% of perpetrators are male. However, almost 15% of all homicides stem from domestic violence, with an overwhelming 70% of domestic violence fatalities being women.

Other interesting findings related to gender show that while men are mostly killed by someone they do not know, almost half of all female victims are killed by someone close to them.

The Americas and Africa have the highest rates of homicide, meaning that almost 750 million people live in countries with the highest homicide rates in the world. Europe, Asia and Oceania have relatively low homicide rates. Unfortunately homicide levels in North and East Africa, as well as parts of South Asia are rising due to an increase in social and political instability.

So what causes homicide?

Well, it’s hard to say what causes homicides in general, but the research shows a link between the consumption of alcohol and/or illicit drugs and an increase in the risk of perpetrating homicide. In some countries, over half the perpetrators of homicide were under the influence of alcohol.

What weapons are being used?

Firearms are the most widely used murder weapon and account for 4 of 10 homicides around the world. The devastating impact of firearms in the Americas is highest, where two thirds of all homicides are committed with guns.

Homicides and peace

The UNODC data on homicide is the source of data we use for the Global Peace Indicator of "homicide". Homicide is just one of the 22 indicators of peace that make up the Global Peace Index. Check out more about the Global Peace Index methodology.

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