The homicide rate on the African continent is higher than the global average, and far higher than the rates found in Europe or Asia, according According to a study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC ), the homicide rate on the African continent is higher than the global average, and far higher than the rates found in Europe or Asia, while Central America is the most dangerous region to live.
The Global Study on Homicide 2019 report puts the African homicide rate at 13 victims per 100,000 people, with the global rate at 6.1 victims. While the overall global numbers have risen to 464,000 deaths in 2017 – the most recent year for the data – the risk of becoming a homicide victim has dropped because population has increased at the same time, UNDOC said.
The highest global rates are recorded in the Americas, where there are 17.2 such deaths per 100,000 people but wide variations among and even within countries. For example, El Salvador has a rate of 62.1 victims for each 100,000 people though the overall rate for Central America is at 25.9.
There are gaps in the data for Africa, but 35.1 percent of the global homicide total is found on the continent, and that’s all intentional homicide apart from armed conflict. Recent data on individual countries in Africa, the authors note, show widely diverging homicide rates, ranging from around 34 per 100,000 people in Nigeria and South Africa, to around 2 per 100,000 in Mauritius and Ghana.
South Africans have seen higher numbers, while neighboring countries including Lesotho and Namibia show downward or stable trends. Uganda’s homicide rate has increased, while Tanzania’s has dropped.
Among women, though, it’s Africans who have the highest rate of homicide death.
“The home remains the most dangerous place for women, who continue to bear the heaviest burden of lethal victimization as a result of inequality and gender stereotypes,” the report said.
According to the study, Central America is the most dangerous region to live, where the number of homicides – or unlawful killings – rises in some “hotspots”, to 62.1 per 100,000 people.
The safest locations are in Asia, Europe and Oceania (Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia), where murder rates are 2.3, 3.0 and 2.8 respectively – well below the 6.1 global average, the UN agency’s Global Study on Homicide 2019 shows.
According to the report, the drivers of homicide highlighted in the study include inequality, unemployment, political instability, the prevalence of gender stereotypes in society, and the presence of organized crime.
The study also points to the importance of a governance model centred on the rule of law, control of corruption, and investment in socioeconomic development, including in education, as critical in bringing down the rate of violent crime. Firearms and drugs and alcohol are further facilitators of homicide that need to be addressed, according to the study.
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