Report: Americas and Caribbean top global murder rates

Story highlights

  • The U.N. report estimates global homicides at 468,000
  • Murder rates are highest in parts of the Americas and Africa
  • Eight in 10 homicide victims are men, report says
  • Most women are murdered at home
Homicide rates in Central America and the Caribbean are nearing a "crisis point," according to a United Nations report.
Across Central America, homicide rates have increased in five out of eight countries over the past five years, with Honduras seeing homicide rates more than double between 2005 and 2010.
Mexico saw a 65% increase over the same period.
Homicide rates have also surged in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dominican Republic.
"Organized crime -- especially drug trafficking -- accounted for a quarter of deaths caused by firearms in the Americas, compared to only 5% of homicides in Asia and Europe," the report says. "That does not mean, however, that organized crime groups are not active in those two regions, but rather that they may be operating in ways that do not employ lethal violence to the same extent."
More than four in 10 homicides were committed with firearms, according to the report. Gun crime is driving violence in Central America and the Caribbean.
The U.N. report estimates the total number of homicides globally at 468,000 people in 2010 -- 36% took place in Africa, 31% in the Americas and 27% in Asia. Europe and Oceania combined account for less than 6% of all homicides.
"Globally, some 80% of homicide victims and perpetrators are men," the report says.
"But, whereas men are more likely to be killed in a public places, women are mainly murdered at home," according to the report. "In Europe, women comprised almost 80% of all people killed by a current or former partner in 2008."