Rate of homicide among highest in Europe

Ireland has a higher homicide rate than most of our European neighbours, according to a UN report.

But we are close to the bottom of the table for killings of females.

The Global Study on Homicide 2013, published yesterday, showed that Dublin ranks higher than many European countries for homicide rates.

The research, by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, showed:

* Ireland had a homicide rate of 1.2 per 100,000 in 2012, a figure roughly stable since 2000, apart from a peak of 1.8 in 2007.

* It compares with a total European (44 countries) rate of 3% — a figure reflecting very high rates in Russia (9.2), the Baltic States (Lithuania 6.7) and some Eastern European countries.

* Ireland is above most of our neighbours, including Denmark (0.8), Sweden (0.7), Italy (0.9), Spain (0.8), Austria (0.9), France (1.0), Germany (0.8), Netherlands (0.9), Czech Republic (1.0) and the UK (1.0).

The figures show that the highest rates in western Europe are in Belgium and Finland (both 1.6).

The study looked at the gender breakdown of victims. In the 44 countries of Europe, the average was 72% male and 28% female.

Outside of small countries like Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, Ireland had the lowest rate at female homicide victims at 13%, after Greece (6%).

The next jurisdiction nearest was the North (17%). In many western states, the rate was around 40%, including in Belgium, France and Germany.

Looking at capital cities (2010 figures), Dublin was towards the top, once Baltic States were excluded.

At a rate of 2 per 100,000, it was a lot higher than most European neighbours, including many Eastern states.

This includes Copenhagen (0.3), Oslo (0.9), Rome (0.3), Lisbon (0.3), Madrid (0.9), Vienna (1.0), Berlin (1.1), Amsterdam (1.3), Prague (1.3) and Bucharest (1.1).

Dublin was marginally higher than Paris (1.8) and London (1.8), but a lot lower than Belfast (3.3) and Glasgow (5.1). Brussels was also higher (2.8). Tallinn was 5.5, Vilnius 4.7 and Moscow 4.2.

In some countries, over half of homicide offenders acted under the influence of alcohol, with cocaine and amphetamines also associated with killings and violence, the study found.

Globally, the study found 95% of killers are men and almost 15% of all homicides stem from domestic violence. The bulk — around 70% — of domestic violence fatalities were women.

“Home can be the most be the most dangerous place for a woman,” said Jean-Luc Lemahieu, UNODC director for policy analysis. “It is particularly heartbreaking when those who should be protecting their loved ones are the very people responsible for their murder.”

South and Central America had some of the highest homicide rates in the world, including Honduras (90 per 100,000), Venezuela (54) and Columbia (31).

Half of all homicide victims globally are under the age of 30 and almost one in 10 (36,000 children) are under the age of 15.

* unodc.org

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