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Global study on_homicide_2011_embargoed

  3. 3. Copyright 2011 © United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)AcknowledgementsThe 2011 Global Study on Homicide was prepared by the Statistics and SurveysSection under the supervision of Sandeep Chawla, Director, Division for PolicyAnalysis and Public Affairs.Core teamResearch coordination and study preparationAngela Me, Enrico Bisogno, Steven MalbyResearch, data analysis and data processingMichael Jandl, Philip Davis, Catherine Pysden, Umidjon Rahmonberdiev, FelixReiterer, Elizabeth Gurian, Cristina Mesa Vieira, Alberto Aziani and MariaelenaCenciEditingJonathan GibbonsGraphic design, layout and mapping supportSuzanne Kunnen and Kristina Kuttnig (Studies and Threat Analysis Section)The study benefited from the valuable input of many UNODC staff members(at headquarters and in regional and country offices) as well as from the dedica-tion of the many national experts who have provided UNODC with crime andcriminal justice data over the years.The World Health Organization kindly provided the public health data pre-sented in the study. The Organization of American States supported UNODCin the collection of data in the Americas. Many experts in research institutes andinternational organizations commented on early drafts and provided extremelyvaluable input.The study was also made possible thanks to the financial contribution of theSmall Arms Survey.DISCLAIMERSThis study has not been formally edited.The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this publica-tion do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part ofUNODC or the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status ofany country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimi-tation of its frontiers or boundaries.Cover picture ©
  5. 5. PREFACEThe UNODC 2011 Global Study on Homicide tions is the recognition that different factors drivebrings together global, regional, national and sub- violent crime rates and trends. In some regions,national homicide data in one publication. It is organized crime, drug trafficking and the violenthoped that the data and analysis of the most vio- cultures of youth gangs are predominantly respon-lent crime against the person will assist global sible for the high levels of homicide; while inefforts to design evidence-based policies to prevent others, killings connected to intimate partner andand reduce crime in those areas and population family-related violence account for an importantgroups where violence is most acute. share of homicides.This study was made possible because of increased Although it is important to understand that theefforts by countries to produce and share good sharp increase in homicides in some countries,quality homicide data. However, homicide data particularly in Central America, are making theremain far from perfect—indeed, the study draws activities of organized crime and drug traffickingattention to the large geographic and thematic more visible, it should not be assumed that organ-data gaps in many regions of the world—and com- ized crime is not active in other regions as well.parisons should always be made with caution. Thisis also true because legal systems and practices, as Another aspect is the role played by firearms inwell as capacities in reporting intentional homi- violent crime. It is crucial that measures to preventcide, can vary significantly between countries and crime should include policies towards the ratifica-regions. tion and implementation of the UN Firearm pro- tocol. Domestic policies in furtherance of theNevertheless, there are a number of key messages Protocol’s provision can help avoid the diversion ofthat may be derived from the wealth of data in this firearms to fuel violence and increase First, there is a clear link between violentcrime and development: crime hampers poor Knowledge of the patterns and causes of violenthuman and economic development; this, in turn, crime are crucial to forming preventive strategies.fosters crime. Improvements to social and eco- Young males are the group most affected by violentnomic conditions go hand in hand with the reduc- crime in all regions, particularly in the Americas.tion of violent crime. Yet women of all ages are the victims of intimate partner and family-related violence in all regionsThe development agenda must also include crime and countries. Indeed, in many of them, it isprevention policies and the enhancement of the within the home where a woman is most likely torule of law at both national and international level. be killed.Reducing violent crime should also be a priorityfor achieving the Millennium Development Goals, As the 2011 Global Study on Homicide shows,particularly in those countries where crime is dis- gender-based violence affects a large number ofproportionally high. women worldwide and represents a serious threat to the harmonious development of societies.The study also represents an important advance inour understanding of the trends and patterns of In the face of these trends, UNODC is working onhomicide. One of the most important considera- a number of activities, in partnership with other 5
  6. 6. GLOBAL STUDY on Homicide international organizations. As the guardian of the United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice, UNODC sup- ports States’ efforts to prevent crime and violence. The Office has developed a series of tools in sup- port of technical assistance for the practical imple- mentation of crime prevention policies and programmes in accordance with the United Nations guidelines for the prevention of crime. With a focus on stopping violence against women, the Office has supported the development of Model Strategies and Practical Measures in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice, which were adopted by the United Nations Gen- eral Assembly. Finally, I would like to thank everyone who helped in the preparation of this study. The 2011 Global Study on Homicide is vital to our understanding of the nature of homicide and will help in the devel- opment of strategies to reduce homicides every- where. In undertaking these challenges, we should never forget the stark reality behind the figures; namely the children, women and men who daily fall victim to this ultimate crime. Yury Fedotov Executive Director United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime6
  7. 7. EXPLANATORY NOTESRegions: In various sections, this study uses a Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominica,number of subregional designations. These are not Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe,official designations and they do not imply the Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat,expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,of UNODC concerning the legal status of any Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicoscountry, territory, city or area or of its authorities, Islands and United States Virgin Islands.or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers orboundaries. The assignment of countries or areas • Central America: Belize, Costa Rica,to specific groupings is for statistical convenience El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama.and does not imply any assumption regardingpolitical or other affiliation of countries or territo- • Northern America: Bermuda, Canada andries by the United Nations. The designations used the United States of this study are based on the United Nations • South America: Argentina, Bolivia (Plurina-M.49 geographical regions for statistical use, tional State of ), Brazil, Chile, Colombia,developed, used and maintained by the United Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay,Nations Statistics Division. They are defined as Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuelafollows: (Bolivarian Republic of ).• Eastern Africa: Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, • Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Uganda, United Repub- • Eastern Asia: China (including Hong Kong, lic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Macao, and Taiwan Province of China), the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,• Middle Africa: Angola, Cameroon, Central Japan, Mongolia, and the Republic of Korea. African Republic, Chad, Congo (Republic of ), Democratic Republic of Congo, • South-Eastern Asia: Brunei Darussalam, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Sao Tome Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s and Principe. Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-• Northern Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Libyan Arab Leste and Viet Nam. Jamahiriya, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia. • Southern Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh,• Southern Africa: Botswana, Lesotho, Bhutan, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of ), Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.• Western Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, • Western Asia: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Cyprus, Georgia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Lebanon, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Re- Leone and Togo. public, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Caucasus refers to a subregion which• Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, includes Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, 7
  8. 8. GLOBAL STUDY on Homicide • Eastern Europe: Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Maps: The boundaries and names shown and the Republic, Hungary, Poland, Republic of designations used on maps do not imply official Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations. Slovakia and Ukraine. Central and Eastern A dotted line represents approximately the line of Europe refers to a subregion which includes control in Jammu and Kashmir agreed upon by Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania and Slovakia. India and Pakistan. The final status of Jammu and Kashmir has not yet been agreed upon by the par- • Northern Europe: Denmark, Estonia, ties. Disputed boundaries (China/India) are repre- Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, sented by cross hatch due to the difficulty of Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and the United showing sufficient detail. Kingdom (sometimes disaggregated to United Kingdom (England and Wales), Population data: The data on population used in United Kingdom (Scotland) and United this study come from: United Nations, Depart- Kingdom (Northern Ireland)). Baltic coun- tries refer to a subregion which includes ment of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Division, World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision (2011). • Southern Europe: Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Slov- enia, Spain and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. • Western Europe: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands and Switzerland. • Australia and New Zealand: Australia and New Zealand. • Melanesia: Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. • Micronesia: Guam, Kiribati, Micronesia (Federal States of ), Nauru and Palau. • Polynesia: French Polynesia, Samoa and Tonga.8
  9. 9. EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThe intentional killing of a human being by and the Americas (at 17 and 16 per 100,000 pop-another is the ultimate crime. Its indisputable ulation, respectively) is more than double thephysical consequences manifested in the form of a global average (6.9 per 100,000), whereas in Asia,dead body also make it the most categorical and Europe and Oceania (between 3 and 4 percalculable. 100,000) it is roughly half.Globally, the total number of annual deaths esti- Some 40 per cent of countries have homicide ratesmated by UNODC to be homicides in 2010 was under 3 per 100,000 population, while in 17 per468,000. More than a third (36 per cent) of those cent of countries it is greater than 20 per 100,000,are estimated to have occurred in Africa, 31 per reaching 50 per 100,000 in some countries and ascent in the Americas, 27 per cent in Asia, 5 per high as 80 per 100,000 in others. Since 1995, thecent in Europe and 1 per cent in Oceania. When homicide rate has decreased in many countries,relating these figures to the population size of each mainly in Asia, Europe and Northern America, toparticular region a slightly different picture the extent that it can be a relatively rare occur-emerges showing that the homicide rate in Africa rence. Yet it has increased in others, particularlyHomicide rates by country (2010 or latest available year) C C CC C C C C C CC C C C C Homicide rates 0,00 - 2,99 3,00 - 4,99 5,00 - 9,99 10,00 - 19,99 20,00 - 24,99 25,00 - 34,99 =35 No data available Note: The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations. Source: UNODC Homicide Statistics. 9
  10. 10. GLOBAL STUDY on Homicide Central America and the Caribbean, where today opment. The largest shares of homicides occur in it can be seen to be nearing crisis point. countries with low levels of human development, and countries with high levels of income inequal- Disparities not only exist in how homicide is dis- ity are afflicted by homicide rates almost four tributed around the world but also between its times higher than more equal societies. typologies, which show varying degrees of preva- lence in different regions. Among the different Homicide and property crime were affected by the contexts in which homicide can occur, including global financial crisis of 2008/2009, with increases homicide related to robbery, gangs, fights, sexual in homicides coinciding with drops in Gross motives, and familial disputes, this study looks at Domestic Product (GDP) and rises in the Con- two forms in depth—organized crime/gang- sumer Price index (CPI) in a sample of countries related homicide, and intimate partner/family- affected by the crisis. Likewise, levels of economic related homicide. It not only analyses their levels, performance also have an affect on homicide. trends and impact but also looks at who is most at Homicide rates in South America, for example, risk from them, both demographically and geo- have decreased during periods of economic growth graphically. in the last 15 years. Homicide trends also followed the economic fluctuations in many of the coun- The degree to which different societies apportion tries that once formed part of the Soviet Union, by the level of culpability to acts resulting in death is increasing when GDP dropped in the aftermath of also subject to variation. Consequently, the com- its break up, before decreasing once their econo- parison between countries and regions of “inten- mies had recovered. tional homicide”, or unlawful death purposefully Long-term, sustainable economic and social devel- inflicted on a person by another person, is also a opment also requires governance based on the rule comparison of the extent to which different coun- of law. Indeed, in all countries where there has tries deem that a killing be classified as such, as been a strengthening of the rule of law in the last well as the capacity of their legal systems to record 15 years there has also been a decline in the homi- it. Caution should therefore be applied when eval- cide rate, while most countries where homicide has uating and comparing homicide data. increased have a relatively weak rule of law. Homicide and development Firearms, trafficking and organized There are many reasons why people kill each other crime and multiple driving forces often interact when Not all homicides involve a weapon. But while they do, but homicide levels and trends indicate killers can prove to be particularly ingenious that the link between homicide and development regarding the manner in which they dispose of is one of the clearest. Higher levels of homicide are other people, 42 per cent of global homicides are associated with low human and economic devel- actually committed by firearm. Homicides in the Americas are more than three and a half times asPercentage of homicides by firearm in subregions (2010 or likely to be perpetrated with a firearm than inlatest available year) Europe (74 per cent vs. 21 per cent), whereas ^ sharp objects are more than twice as likely to be murder weapons in Europe, where they predomi- nate, than in the Americas (36 per cent vs. 16 E^ per cent). ^ The role played by firearms in homicide is funda- t mental and, while the specific relationship t between firearm availability and homicide is com- E K plex, it appears that a vicious circle connects fire- arm availability and higher homicide levels. ^ Firearms undoubtedly drive homicide increases in certain regions and where they do members of organized criminal groups are often those who pull the trigger. W In the Americas, more than 25 per cent of homi- Source: UNODC Homicide Statistics. cides are related to organized crime and the activi-10
  11. 11. EXECUTIVE SUMMARYties of criminal gangs, while the same is only true Percentage distribution of homicide perpetrators by sexof some 5 per cent of homicides in the Asian and of victim, selected European countries (2008 or latestEuropean countries for which data are available. available year)This does not mean, however, that organized crim-inal groups are not as active in those two regions,but rather that they may resort to means otherthan visible extreme violence in the pursuit of theirillicit activities.In many countries with high homicide rates theshare of firearm homicides is also greater and isoften associated with the illicit activities of organ-ized criminal groups, which are often linked todrug trafficking, the root cause of the surge inhomicides in Central America in recent years. Inthe last five years, homicide rates have increased infive out of eight countries in Central America, ^with some countries seeing their rate more than Source: UNECE Statistical Division Database.double in the same period. These trends are largelyattributable to fluctuations in cocaine trafficking ogy that so affects men. For example, in 2008in Central America, which can lead to criminal more than a third (35 per cent) of female homicideconflicts as a result of both increases and decreases victims in countries of Europe were murdered byin drug flows, with the latter particularly resulting spouses or ex-spouses and 17 per cent by relatives,in increased competition between drug trafficking while women account for more than three quartersgroups. (77 per cent) of all the victims of intimate partner/To assert their authority, mark their territory or family-related homicide in the region. It is for thischallenge the authorities, organized criminal reason that in many countries the home is thegroups also use indiscriminate lethal violence that place where a woman is most likely to be mur-may not be directly attributable to drug trafficking dered, whereas men are more likely to be mur-but has resulted, in recent years, in the murders of dered in the street.numerous state representatives, elected officials Available time-series data show that over time inti-and law enforcement officers, as well as members mate partner/family-related homicide levels have aof the general public. Increasing violence redraws tendency to remain fairly stable, meaning that inthe boundaries of its own acceptability and in so contexts of decreasing homicide rates the share ofdoing fuels homicide yet further. this type of homicide increases in proportion toWomen and intimate partner/ others. In Italy, for example, intimate partner/family-related homicide family-related homicides, and its female victims in particular, now account for more homicides thanViolence against women does not limit itself to the victims of mafia groups. On a far greater scale,one particular form, nor does it discriminate in Asia dowry-related deaths still cost many thou-between contexts, circumstances and locations. sands of women’s lives every year.But its most common manifestation globally isintimate partner/family-related violence, which at The demographics of homicide:its most extreme ends in homicide. Women can who is at risk?and do kill their loved ones, yet the vast majority Women may make up the majority of victims ofof victims of intimate partner/family-related hom- intimate partner/family-related homicide, but theicide are females at the hands of their male part- bigger picture reveals that men are those mostners, be they past or present. often involved in homicide in general, accountingIndeed, in many countries intimate partner/fam- for some 80 per cent of homicide victims andily-related homicide is the major cause of female perpetrators. Data from the United States ofhomicides, and female homicide rates are much America indicate that the typical homicide patternmore likely to be driven by this type of violence is a man killing another man (69 per cent of cases),than the organized crime-related homicide typol- while in less than 3 per cent of cases a woman 11
  12. 12. GLOBAL STUDY on Homicide murders another woman. This translates into a crime, and different geographical characteristics much higher risk of men being murdered than can either heighten or lower the risk of this hap- women, with global homicide rates of 11.9 and pening. Homicide levels can vary greatly within a 2.6 per 100,000, respectively. country and certain areas, for example those near national borders or in the vicinity of drug produc- Young males in particular are those most at risk tion or trafficking hubs are often affected by higher due to their more likely participation in violence- homicide rates, as is the case in some Central prone activities such as street crime, gang member- American countries. ship, drug consumption, possession of weapons, street fighting, etc. In countries characterized by Big cities represent another possible risk area for high levels of homicide related to organized crime, violent crime. While urban environments can offer the risk of a 20-year-old man being murdered protective elements such as better policing and before the age of 31 can be as high as 2 per cent, faster access to medical facilities, in many coun- meaning that 1 in 50 males in those countries is tries, homicide rates in very populous cities are murdered by that age. The risk in countries with a higher than in the rest of the country. This can be low homicide rate is 400 times lower. a consequence of a number of factors, both of a social (inequality, segregation, poverty) and crimi- The age and sex composition of homicide victims nological nature (more targets, drug markets, ano- also varies considerably between regions. For nymity). For example, in some cities homicides example, the share of female homicide victims tend to cluster in the most disadvantaged neigh- ranges from 10 per cent in the Americas to 27 per bourhoods and the impact of social inequality and cent in Europe; another clear indicator of the dif- poverty can be compounded by social and physical ferent homicide typologies prevalent in those two signs of degradation (prostitution, drug dealing) regions. Almost twice that in the Americas, the resulting in an increase in homicide risks. How- highest homicide rate among females globally is in ever, the dramatic decrease in homicides in Brazil’s Africa (6.2 per 100,000), where homicide rates are most populous city, Sao Paolo, shows that much not driven by organized crime to the same extent, can be done about this by targeting specific risk but street crime, non-specific lethal violence and factors through preventive and repressive meas- intimate partner/family-related homicide all play ures. an important role. Data challenges The local picture A variety of national and international sources Geographical differences in homicide trends are relating to homicide have been used to compile the significant not only at the macro level but also UNODC Homicide Statistics dataset, which further down the territorial scale. A victim, an includes homicide data for 207 countries and rep- offender and a specific act have to intersect at a resents the backbone of the 2011 Global Study on particular time and place in order to produce a Homicide. All existing data sources on intentional homicidesGlobal homicide rate by sex and age group (2008) are derived from either criminal justice or public health systems. In the former case, data are gener- D ated by law enforcement or criminal justice authorities during the process of recording and investigating a crime event while, in the latter, data are produced by health authorities certifying the cause of death of an individual. Data from both sources are different in terms of validity, accuracy, international comparability and coverage, but this study has attempted to emphasise strengths of both sources., Many challenges need to be addressed to improve accuracy, completeness and international compa- rability of homicide data: common statistical Source: WHO, Causes of Death 2008 dataset (2011). standards should be promoted (concepts, defini-12
  13. 13. EXECUTIVE SUMMARYtions, classifications, etc.) but existing data gapsconvey the message that national capacities toimprove recording systems need to be strength-ened in many instances, especially in developingcountries. Finally, international data collectionmechanisms should be enhanced, also throughincreased collaboration among different interna-tional and regional agencies.Better data, deeper analysis, improved policies, lesshomicide. 13
  14. 14. INTRODUCTIONConceived to highlight the efforts made by many trends in homicide and its complex relationshipcountries to improve the collection and reporting with, and impact on, human development. It alsoof homicide data, the 2011 Global Study on Homi- examines the links between homicide and organ-cide employs a comprehensive collection of cross- ized crime, including drug trafficking and the rolenational and time-series homicide statistics to of firearms, the characteristics of intimate partner/provide a global overview of this phenomenon.1 By family-related killings, demographic factors andpainting a picture of homicide at global, national the importance of local contexts in homicide. Theand even subnational level, the statistical evidence clarification of a number of points is, however,and analyses in this study are designed to enhance fundamental to an understanding of the analysisknowledge of trends and patterns of homicide and that follows.aid the development of effective policies aimed atcurbing lethal violence and its malignant side What is homicide?effects.2 Further discussion of the definition of acts fallingDue to its sheer gravity, homicide is one of the within the broad label of ‘‘homicide” is containedmost scrupulously recorded crimes and homicide in chapter 7, but at this stage it is sufficient to notedata are considered among the most representative that this study is concerned with ‘‘intentionaland comparable crime indicators. In some circum- homicide”. It concerns itself, therefore, only withstances, as explained below, homicide also repre- those acts in which the perpetrator intended tosents a reasonable proxy for violent crime in cause death or serious injury by his or her actions.general, and due to the ‘‘invisible” nature of much This excludes deaths related to conflicts, deathsviolent crime in terms of the failure to record it, caused when the perpetrator was reckless or negli-homicide can be considered the tip of the violence gent, as well as killings that are usually considered‘‘iceberg”. Thus, homicide data can also provide justifiable according to penal law, such as those byvaluable insights into the nature and extent of this law enforcement agents in the line of duty or inwider concern. self-defence. According to the definition adopted in this study, intentional homicide is thus ‘‘unlaw-In order to do so, this study analyses levels and ful death purposefully inflicted on a person by another person”.3 For the sake of simplicity, how-1 Previous publications that present an overview of homicides ever, the terms ‘‘homicide” and ‘‘murder” are used at global level include WHO, World Report on Violence and Health (2002) and the Geneva Declaration, Global Burden of throughout this study as shorthand for ‘‘inten- Armed Violence (2008). tional homicide”. Within the broad range of events2 UNODC has a long-standing mandate to collect and analysis leading to the death of a person that involve other crime data. Recently, the Economic and Social Council has people, the question of whether a person should requested UNODC to improve the collection, reporting and analysis of data to enhance knowledge of trends in specific carry some form of culpability constitutes the basic areas of crime (ECOSOC resolution 2009/25). Moreover, principle that qualifies homicides. This is a com- the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice requested: ‘‘the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, plex process and the historical development of the in consultation with Member States… to strengthen the col- law of homicide shows that, in effect, criteria on lection, analysis and reporting of accurate, reliable and com- parable data on world crime trends and patterns” (Resolution 19/2). 3 UNODC Homicide Statistics (2011). 15
  15. 15. GLOBAL STUDY on Homicide death can be an incredibly thin one and the subse-Homicide rate by robbery level, selected countries (2010 orlatest available year) quent turn of events, including the success or fail- ure of medical intervention, may transform a crime such as robbery or serious assault into hom- icide. This study does not, therefore, aim to exam- ine the crime of homicide in isolation. It attempts rather to examine the phenomenon in context, be it between family or intimate partners, between gangs or related to organized crime, at work or at home, in the street, or in the course of a robbery. The links between homicide, the situational con- text and other crimes vary significantly between countries and over time, and there are countries in which there is an abundance of violent crime that , does not result in homicide and others where hom- icide appears high in comparison to general levels of non-lethal violence. Yet in several circumstances homicide may be considered not only as a single phenomenon in isolation, but also as a reasonable proxy for violent crime in general. Source: UNODC Homicide Statistics (2011), ICVS, WODC (Criminal Victimisation inInternational Perspective (2007)), Organization of American States Report on Citizen Security A relationship between levels of different crime in the Americas (2011), UNODC (Corruption in the western Balkans (2011) and Data for types can be seen in the figure, which shows the Africa surveys). Bars represent median, 1st and 3rd quartiles of homicide rate. association between homicide and robbery rates for 58 countries around the world. While the dis- assigning responsibility for the violent death of a tribution is broad, in general, many countries that person have evolved considerably yet can still be show higher robbery rates (as reported by the gen- surprisingly different from country to country. eral public in crime victimization surveys) also Any comparison of homicide between countries have a tendency to show higher homicide rates. and regions also needs to take this into account.4 The comparison is particularly significant as it Furthermore, final legal findings may take many makes use of victimization survey data for national months or even years to determine the true nature robbery rates, removing, to some extent, the chal- of an event that resulted in death. Nonetheless, lenge created by the underreporting of robbery to prima facie determinations as to whether a person police and law enforcement authorities, as while was killed intentionally by the acts of another are homicide is one of the crimes most often effec- made on a day-to-day basis by both police officers tively identified and recorded by police, the same called to a crime scene and medical practitioners is not necessarily true of robbery. Thus, the analy- required to make an initial certification of cause of sis of homicide trends and patterns is also impor- death. Different techniques and procedures may tant as a starting point for more extensive research also be used to classify the nature of a homicide, into other forms of violent crime. depending on whether it is, for example, related to organized crime or conflict within the family. It is Data sources and data quality such information that forms the basis of the statis- The majority of data and analysis presented in this tics presented in this study. study are based on the dataset UNODC Homicide Statistics 2011,5 which was created by collecting Homicide as a proxy for violent crime data on intentional homicide at national and inter- Whilst the situational context can differ signifi- national level from two different sources: criminal cantly, all homicides involve the use of force or justice and public health records. Due to its nature, harm directed against a person and, as such, do homicide is an event recorded by both the criminal have something of a common thread from the justice and public health systems, but while data criminological perspective. Indeed, from a purely from both sources can be expected to show reason- practical perspective, the line between life and able correspondence, they are unlikely to be identi- 4 Geneva Declaration Secretariat, The Global Burden of Armed 5 Violence (2008). cide.html16
  16. 16. INTRODUCTIONcal. This is due, not least, to the fact that law on page 20. Likewise, data derived from criminalenforcement and public health systems have justice sources were not always available for analys-slightly different perspectives: the main goal of the ing time trends or other features, such as victimformer is to detect whether and how a crime was characteristics and homicide mechanisms. In thosecommitted; that of the latter is to identify the com- cases, as elsewhere in this study, public health dataplete series of factors that caused the death of an derived from two main sources, the World Healthindividual. Law enforcement officers will tend to Organization (WHO) and the Global Burden ofuse all available information from the crime scene, Injuries Project, were used. 7 When UNODCincluding forensic information, witness testimony Homicide Statistics 2011 is listed as a source inand the surrounding context of a violent death to this study, it indicates the data series compiled bymake an initial finding of intentional homicide. In UNODC based on data provided by nationalcontrast, correct public health system classification authorities, WHO and other regional/interna-requires that certifying physicians, from the medi- tional organizations.8cal evidence before them, correctly judge if anotherperson inflicted the injury and whether the culprit A number of limitations affect the comparabilityintended to injure or kill the victim. of homicide data based on criminal justice and public health statistics.9 For example, while homi-Homicide tends to be recorded effectively by law cide is probably the best recorded crime, differ-enforcement and criminal justice institutions and ences in homicide rates between countries andthus police homicide data are relatively accurate in regions can be affected by different levels of crimecomparison to that of other crime types, such as reporting and recording, as well as from existingassault or rape, for which the ‘‘dark figure” (number legislation that may treat and record the sameof unreported crimes) tends to be higher. Moreo- lethal act in different ways.10ver, with respect to its work on crime preventionand criminal justice, UNODC works primarily In addition, countries may have different capaci-with law enforcement and criminal justice institu- ties or approaches for differentiating intentionaltions and has a clear mandate concerning the col- homicide from all other forms of lethal violencelection of data on crime trends from state bodies and some homicides may also be recorded in crim-of that nature.6 inal justice records with different levels of detail. Some countries, for example, differentiate homi-However, criminal justice information on homi- cides related to organized crime in their recordingcide is not available at international level for all system, others lack the legal and technical frame-countries. UNODC Homicide Statistics 2011 work for doing so. The simple comparison ofinclude criminal justice data for 177, representing criminal justice statistics based on these different86 per cent of the 207 countries or territories circumstances may, therefore, lead to misinterpre-included in the dataset as a whole. These data were tation. Meanwhile, data based on public healthprovided to UNODC by Member States through sources are also of varying levels of quality in dif-established reporting procedures, or were made ferent regions as some countries, especially devel-publicly available by institutions such as national oping countries, do not maintain death registers.police forces, ministries of justice or the interior, or For this reason, public health data for some coun-by national statistical offices. Many of those coun- tries, particularly in Africa, are estimated on thetries where criminal justice homicide data are not basis of statistical models.reported at international level are in Africa or thePacific islands. Caution should therefore be applied when using an amalgamated dataset of this nature, but it is aWhen criminal justice data were unavailable, or dataset that can nonetheless provide vital supportwere assessed by UNODC to suffer from a signifi- in the struggle to contain lethal violence.cant degree of undercounting, public health dataon homicide levels were used as the preferred 7 The Global Burden of Injuries project is an academic con-country source, which is the case, for example, for sortium that essentially uses WHO data as the basis for its analysis and data elaboration (see www.globalburdenofinju-64 countries (31 per cent of the total) in map 1.1 8 Such as Eurostat, the Organization of American States,6 UNODC has been mandated to collect information on crime UNICEF and Interpol. and criminal justice through the United Nations Survey of 9 A review of data sources is provided in chapter 7. Crime Trends and Criminal Justice (UN-CTS) since the late 1970s (ECOSOC resolution E/1984/84 and General Assem- 10 In some countries, for example, “honour killing” is treated bly resolutions A/RES/46/152 and A/RES/60/177). differently to other forms of homicide. 17
  17. 17. 1. THE GLOBAL PICTUREThis initial chapter sketches the outline of a phe- Fig. 1.1: Total number of homicides by region (2010 or latestnomenon that is decreasing in many countries and available year)subregions to the extent that it is a relatively rareoccurrence, yet is nearing crisis point in others.Subsequent chapters explain the reasons behindsuch disparities and their different dynamics. Thischapter presents an overview of homicide totals,rates and trends from a global, regional, subre-gional and national perspective.Global and regional totals Globally, UNODC estimates that the total number Kof annual homicides in 2010 was 468,000.1 Aninitial disparity in homicide distribution aroundthe globe can be seen when disaggregating that Efigure by region, with the largest proportion, some36 per cent or 170,000 homicides, estimated to Source: UNODC Homicide Statistics (2011). Bars represent the sum of total homicide counts based on the source selected at country level, with high and low estimates.occur in Africa, 31 per cent, or approximately144,000, in the Americas and 27 per cent, or that particular region, but also upon its population128,000, in Asia. Europe and Oceania account for size. It is by comparison of the estimated numbersignificantly less at 5 per cent, or 25,000, and of homicides by region with the population ofunder 1 per cent, or 1,200 homicides, respectively.2 each region, as in figure 1.2, that the real regionalRegional distribution by population disparity in homicide distribution can be seen. For instance, the estimated number of homicides inThe absolute number of homicides in a region is Africa and the Americas are relatively high givennot only dependent upon the level of violence in the size of their respective populations, whereas the share of homicides in Asia and Europe are1 With an estimated range between 308,000 and 539,000, this figure is based on country data for 2010 or latest available relatively low. year. This figure is broadly in line with global estimates on homicides provided by other organizations, though differ- Global and regional averages ences in definitions, data sources and statistical methodolo- gies prevent a direct comparison of available estimates. For The total number of 468,000 homicides results in example, WHO, World Report on Violence and Health (2002) has produced an estimate of 520,000 deaths in 2000 through a global average homicide rate of 6.9 per 100,000 interpersonal violence. In a similar range, Geneva Declara- population. Map 1.1 highlights the disparity in tion Secretariat, The Global Burden of Armed Violence (2008) estimated that approximately 490,000 deaths from homicide average homicide rates around the world by occurred in 2004. country, with the distribution of darkest shading2 The error bars in figure 1.1 are derived from maximum and showing that homicide rates are highest in parts of minimum total annual homicides for each region, according to different data sources (see chapter 8). The overall estimate for Africa is at the higher end of the range due to the preferred 3 Data for 90 per cent of countries in map 1.1 correspond to use of public health sources in this region, which tend to 2008, 2009 or 2010, enabling the presentation of a unique report higher homicide counts than police sources. up-to-date portrayal of global violence levels. 19
  18. 18. GLOBAL STUDY on Homicide Fig. 1.2: Homicide and population distribution by region (2010 or latest available year) 36% 31% 27% 5% 0.3% 15% 14% 60% 11% 0.5% Africa Americas Asia Europe Oceania Percentage of global homicides Percentage of global popula on Source: UNODC Homicide Statistics (2011) and United Nations World Population Prospects, 2010 Revision (2011). Bubble size is proportional to percentage of total. Central and South America, the Caribbean and third of which show rates of under 1 homicide per Southern and Middle Africa; the lighter shading 100,000. In contrast, 35 countries (approximately showing that they are lowest in parts of Europe, 17 per cent of the total) show high homicide rates Northern America, Northern Africa, Eastern Asia of more than 20 homicides per 100,000 popula- and all of Oceania. tion, some going beyond 50 and others as high as Some 80 countries (approximately 40 per cent of 80 per 100,000 population. The remainder (44 the total) show low homicide rates of less than 3 per cent of the total) show medium homicide rates homicides per 100,000 population per year, a between 3 and 20 per 100,000 population. Map 1.1: Homicide rates by country (2010 or latest available year) C C CC C C C C C CC C C C C Homicide rates 0,00 - 2,99 3,00 - 4,99 5,00 - 9,99 10,00 - 19,99 20,00 - 24,99 25,00 - 34,99 =35 No data available Note: The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations. Source: UNODC Homicide Statistics (2011).20
  19. 19. THE GLOBAL PICTURE 1Map 1.2: Source of homicide statistics by country (2010 or latest available year) C C CC C C C C C CC C C C C Sources Criminal jus ce Public health No data available Note: The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations. Source: UNODC Homicide Statistics (2011).The homicide rate in the Americas is, at 15.6 per Fig. 1.3: Homicide rates by region (2010 or latest available100,000, more than double the world average year)(figure 1.3), while, at 17.4 per 100,000, Africa hasthe highest rate among all regions, although it alsohas the largest uncertainty range due to large dis-crepancies between criminal justice and publichealth data.4 Asia falls between 2.4 and 4.3 per t100,000, and both Europe and Oceania also fallbelow the global average at 3.5 per 100,000, Krespectively. , Source: UNODC Homicide Statistics (2011). Bars represent population weighted average homicide rate, with high and low estimates.4 Whilst a lowest possible estimate would place Africa within the range of the world average, on the basis of available data, it can be estimated that the region sits at a level somewhere above, rather than below, the global average. 21
  20. 20. GLOBAL STUDY on Homicide Subr Subregional and national averagesFig. 1.4: Homicide rates per 100,000 population by subregion (2010 or latest available year) As figure 1.4 clearly shows, Southern Africa and Central America, South America and the Carib- ^ bean have considerably higher homicide rates than other subregions, while, at the opposite end of the ^ scale, Western, Northern and Southern Europe, and Eastern Asia have the lowest homicide rates. Data show that homicide rates tend to be higher in developing countries, an initial indication that D development has a link with homicide levels. This E relationship is explored in detail in chapter 2. ^ t Figure 1.4 also highlights the problems associated K with data availability and quality that can hinder^ E the understanding of patterns of violence. It shows E that it is in several developing regions often char- t acterized by high homicide levels where large vari- ations between criminal justice and public health ^ data remain. By contrast, there is greater consist- W t ency in high and middle income countries. The relationship between data differences, data agree- ment and overall homicide rate become even clearer when data are visualized at country level, as Source: UNODC Homicide Statistics (2011). Bars represent population weighted average homicide rate, by source category. in figures 1.5 to 1.9.Fig. 1.5: Homicide rates by country/territory, Africa (2010 or latest available year) W, D d E s / ^ D E d h  Z Z ^ W D E ^ d D ^ D ^  : D ^ D ^ d Z Z ^ h Source: UNODC Homicide Statistics (2011).22
  21. 21. THE GLOBAL PICTURE 1Fig. 1.6: Homicide rates by country/territory, the Americas (2010 or latest available year) W, Z Z , W E D d / / / / W h ^ Z : ^ W , ^ E D D ^ Z W s s ^ ^ ^ d W d h h s ^ s Source: UNODC Homicide Statistics (2011).Fig. 1.7: Homicide rates by country/territory, Asia (2010 or latest available year) W, E / Y E K / ^ / : d z : D Z D W Z D d d D s d ^ / h W Z d ^ D d Z W Z , W / ^ h / d W W K Source: UNODC Homicide Statistics (2011). 23