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World murders down, most serious in Africa, Americas

A man carrying a pistol/FILE

A man carrying a pistol/FILE

VIENNA, Apr 10 – Murders have gone down worldwide but half of them still occur in countries with just 11 percent of the global population, in the Americas and Africa, a new UN report found Thursday.

The UN office on drugs and crime said 437,000 people were murdered in 2012, compared to 468,000 in 2010, the first year its global study on homicide was conducted.

Central America and southern Africa had rates of 26 and 30 people killed for every 100,000, more than four times the world average.

Half of all victims were under 30, 80 percent were men as were 95 percent of perpetrators, UNODC said.

“There is an urgent need to understand how violent crime is plaguing countries around the world, particularly affecting young men but also taking a heavy toll on women,” said UNODC policy analysis director Jean-Luc Lemahieu.

While men tended to be killed by an unknown assailant, women were most often murdered by somebody close to them, the report noted.

“Home can be the most dangerous place for a woman,” said Lemahieu.

In North and Latin America, gang-related homicides made up 30 percent of the total, compared to less than one percent in Asia, Europe and Oceania, where the share of murders from domestic violence was higher.

Firearms were the weapon of choice in four out of 10 murders.

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UNODC also found that only 43 percent of murders resulted in a conviction.

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