Crime kills more people than armed conflict: UN

According to the UN study, “It is estimated that an average of roughly 65,000 killings every year were related to organised crime and gangs over the period 2000-2017.”
According to the “Global Study on Homicide” study of the UNODC, the rate of homicides in India is on decline.(AFP File)
According to the “Global Study on Homicide” study of the UNODC, the rate of homicides in India is on decline.(AFP File)
Updated on Jul 09, 2019 12:00 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Berlin | ByNeeraj Chauhan

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Monday published a study on homicides which states that people killed in homicides across the world are five times higher than those killed in armed conflicts and that the organised crime is responsible for 19% of homicides.

In fact, according to the “Global Study on Homicide” study of the UNODC, the rate of homicides in India is on decline.

“On the basis of its comprehensive Homicide Statistics 2018 data set, which draws on a number of new and improved sources, UNODC estimates that a total of 4,64,000 deaths were caused by intentional homicide worldwide in 2017. The largest share (37%) was registered in the Americas, closely followed by Africa, which accounted for just over a third (35%) of the total. 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 study stated.

In comparison, number of people killed in armed conflict during the same period are 89,000.

Explaining the extent of people killed in organised crimes, the study says “It is estimated that an average of roughly 65,000 killings every year were related to organised crime and gangs over the period 2000-2017. About 95% of victims killed in organised crimes are men. The countries which have highest rate of homicides due to organised crime include Bahamas, El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia, Jamaica and Panama.

However, the homicides linked to intimate partner (s) account for one quarter of all homicides worldwide as compared to one in every five homicide due to organised crime. About 64% of victims of killings by intimate partners are women.

“Globally, young men aged 15–29 years face the highest risk of homicide, with a rate of 16.6 per 100,000 males in that age group; while men aged 30–44 years face the second-highest risk, at 14.7 per 100,000. The homicide risk decreases for men aged 45–59 years (10.7) and 60+ years (5.6). At 1.2 per 100,000, the homicide risk is lowest for boys under 15 years of age. By contrast, women face a much lower homicide risk across all age groups,” the study adds.

Interesting, the environment – particularly conflict over resources and changes associated with increasing temperatures - has played an important role in increased homicides.

The study states, “Violence driven by resource scarcity and disputes over how resources are managed is indicative of a context in which the supply of renewable resources, such as water, forests, cropland and rangeland, is not sufficient to meet demand. Moreover, policies governing access, use, ownership and management of natural resources can trigger violence and conflict in situations where certain groups perceive grievances associated with political exclusion, corruption and unequal distribution of resources. Although the nexus between violence and the environment is not yet a fully fledged field of study, existing research suggests that problems revolving around linkages between the environment, population and violence are not only about resource scarcity, but also about power relations.”

A recent count suggests that at least 200 “land and environmental defenders” were killed in 2016, it says.

About India, the report states that the overall homicide rate decreased by 10 per cent over the period 2009–2015, from 3.8 to 3.4 per 100,000 population. At the same time, the spatial 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, the report adds.

Also, the firearms have a limited impact on overall suicide levels as compared to countries like Colombia and Mexico, countries with high homicides rates and organised crimes.

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