A report by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime has named parts of the Americas and the Caribbean as having the highest homicide rate in the world. This is the first global report of its kind and some of the facts that it released may come as a surprise. Those at greatest risk of becoming victims of homicide are young men in Central and South America, the Caribbean and Central and Southern Africa. According to the study, the rise in the Americas is near crisis level, the Americas are the most violent place on Earth.
One of the main causes of the rise is the increased availability of firearms which cause over 75 percent of the homicides in the affected regions compared with 21 percent in Europe. Men were almost 5 times more likely to be the victim of violence than women though women are much more likely to be victims of domestic violence. In places such as Central America, 2 percent of males will be killed between the ages of 20 and 31. This is hundreds of times higher than in Asia.
In 2010, according to the UN, 468,000 people were the victim of homicide. Of that number, 36 percent took place in Africa, 31 percent in the Americas and 27 percent in Asia with Europe a relatively safe 5 percent.
The report has shown a link between crime and the development in a country. Where there is a great divide between the haves and the have nots, there is a much higher homicide rate. On a positive note, as countries develop and the gap becomes smaller, crime also comes down considerably. South America is a prime example of this as it has become more prosperous.
According to UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov “To achieve the Millennium Development Goals, crime prevention policies should be combined with economic and social development and democratic governance based on the rule of law.” When governments stabilize, crime rates drop and tourism and business helps to improve the safety of citizens.
In the Americas, 42 percent of homicides are committed with a firearm. The easy availability of guns seems to be driving the violent crime rate up in this area even as other areas seem to be dropping. Drug trafficking and gangs are accountable for many of the deaths caused by violence in the Americas. Organized crime is active all over the world but seems to be particularly violent in the Americas. In developing countries with a high population of youth, violent crime among and directed at young men is three times higher than the rest of the world. Homicides are also much higher in cities than in rural areas. Wars between gangs and over drugs have reached astonishing heights.
The report is not all doom and gloom however as it suggests that development and more opportunities for residents of developing countries will result in the lowering of the rates of homicides. As areas enjoy prosperity, there is less likely to be young men willing to offer their lives in the hope of earning money through crime. So perhaps, those charities that bring opportunity to the young are the way to save their lives.
I have been an Internet writer for more than 16 years. While I specialize in travel, I write on a variety of subjects. I love genealogy, food, and fashion. I have 10 grandchildren so family travel is something we often do.