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Global Study on Homicide

  • 09 Jul 2019
  • 3 min read

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) report “Global Study on Homicide” has revealed that people killed in homicides (act of one human killing another) across the world are five times higher than those killed in armed conflicts.

  • Although the number of homicides has increased (from 400,000 in 1992 to more than 460,000 in 2017), the actual global rate has declined (from 7.2 in 1992, to 6.1 in 2017) when measured against population growth.

Key Findings

  • The largest share of homicide (37%) was registered in the Americas region, followed by Africa (35%).
    • In Africa, two countries Nigeria (terror group boko haram played a significant role) and South Africa saw almost half of the entire continent's homicides.
  • Despite its large population, Asia accounted for less than a quarter of the total (23%), while Europe (4.7%) and Oceania (0.2%) accounted for by far the smallest shares.
  • The safest locations are in Asia, Europe and Oceania (Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia), where murder rates (2.3, 3.0 and 2.8 respectively) are well below the global average of 6.1.
  • It has been found that for 19% of homicides, were related to organised crime and gangs.
    • About 95% of victims killed in organised crimes are men.
    • The countries which have the highest rate of homicides due to organised crime include Bahamas, El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia, Jamaica and Panama.
  • Homicides linked to intimate partner account for one quarter of all homicides worldwide.
    • About 64% of victims of killings by intimate partners are women.
  • Globally, young men aged 15-29 years face the highest risk of homicide, while men aged 30-44 years face the second-highest risk.
    • The homicide risk decreases for men aged 45–59 years and 60+ years and is lowest for boys under 15 years of age.
    • Women face a much lower homicide risk across all age groups.
  • Environment (particularly conflict over resources and changes associated with increasing temperatures) has played an important role in increased homicides.

India Specific Findings

  • In India, the overall homicide rate decreased by 10% over the period 2009 -2015.
  • At the same time, the spatial (geographical) variation in the homicide rate shifted noticeably, with some states in the north registering an increase in the homicide rate, while some large states in the south (e.g. Andhra Pradesh) experienced a decrease.
  • There is also a slight increase in ‘intimate partner’ violence in India.
  • Firearms have a limited impact on overall suicide levels as compared to countries like Colombia and Mexico, countries with high homicides rates and organized crimes.
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