Crime statistics are usually difficult to compare across borders - but murders tend to always be reported so the figures in the study can be considered accurate.
Compiled by UNODC (the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), the report reveals there were c.468,000 homicidal deaths on planet Earth last year.
More than a third of murders (36%) were in Africa and just under a third were on the American contintents (31%); in these global regions, the murder rate was 15-16 killings per 100k people, more than double the average of 6.9 killings per 100k for the rest of the world.
Murders in most countries have reduced in number since 1995, but in the Caribbean and Central America, murder numbers have increased.
Interestingly, the UK is a developed nation and can be considered relatively safer than others, enjoying one of the lowest murder rates for individual countries. I can't help speculating how our anti-gun culture helps here, especially when one considers US murder rates are tending to be double the UK's.
Two trends seem to be apparent:
1. A link exists between development and crime. Countries with low scores on the UN Development Programme’s human-development index reveal high murder rates and vice versa.
2. Exceptions to the above show another trend. Organised crime, drug trafficking, violent gang culture and the prevalence of firearms are also correlated with higher murder rates, even in relatively developed countries.
This distressing phenomenon just noted above is proven in Honduras and El Salvador. It would be wise probably not to travel to this pair of countries; they suffer the highest and second-highest global murder rates (82 killings per 100k and 66 killings per 100k resp.).
To download more detail on this report, visit the 'Homicides Study' on the website of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.