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Where Murder Rates Soar


The UN Office on Drugs and Crime reported in early October that young men are most at risk of becoming victims of homicide in the Caribbean-Central American region and central and southern Africa. Women in those regions are at high risk of death in domestic violence.

The murder rates are highest in the Caribbean-Central American region and in southern Africa. Here, a victim in Guinea. JOE PENNEY

The agency’s Global Study on Homicide puts the blame on guns, saying that in these two areas of the world “almost three quarters of all homicides are committed with guns, compared to 21 percent in Europe.” Men in these same regions are more than four times as likely as women to be murdered.

Globally, the study says that 468,000 homicides occurred last year. “Some 36 percent of all
homicides take place in Africa, 31 percent in the Americas, 27 percent in
Asia, 5 percent in Europe, and 1 percent in Oceania,” it said. Central America and the Caribbean is the only region where homicides are steadily increasing, fed by gun crime, the agency says.

Barbara Crossette is the senior consulting editor and writer for PassBlue and the United Nations correspondent for The Nation. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She has also contributed to the Oxford Handbook on the United Nations.

Previously, Crossette was the UN bureau chief for The New York Times from 1994 to 2001 and previously its chief correspondent in Southeast Asia and South Asia. She is the author of “So Close to Heaven: The Vanishing Buddhist Kingdoms of the Himalayas,” “The Great Hill Stations of Asia” and a Foreign Policy Association study, “India Changes Course,” in the Foreign Policy Association’s “Great Decisions 2015.”

Crossette won the George Polk award for her coverage in India of the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and the 2010 Shorenstein Prize for her writing on Asia.

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