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UN crime agency reports 437,000 intentional homicides in 2012

[JURIST] The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released the results of the Global Study on Homicide 2013 (GSH) [official websites] which detailed the global prevalence of intentional homicides, finding 437,000 homicides in 2012. The UNODC collected [UN News Centre report] a wide breadth of statistical data including identities of perpetrators and victims, murder weapons, and murder rates by nation. The highest global murder rates were found in Africa and the Americas, and the data showed that nearly 750 million people live in the countries with the highest murder rates, meaning that almost half of all murders occur in countries home to only eleven percent of the world's population. The study also showed other findings, such as disparities between victim and perpetrator rates based on age and sex, and whether victims were more or less likely to have been killed by unknown person or by an acquaintance. Data showed that female victims were overwhelmingly more likely to be killed by people close to them and many of the murders were the result of domestic violence. The study also collected extrinsic data, finding that 4 in 10 homicides involve a firearm as the murder weapon, and that the use of alcohol was involved in more than half of all homicides in certain countries. Conviction rates were also tracked, showing an average of 43 percent, but a large disparity across regions, with rates of 24 percent in the Americas, 48 percent in Asia, and 81 percent in Europe.

It is hoped that information and data provided by the study will give domestic governments and global authorities a clearer picture of where law enforcement policies are working, where they are not, and where there needs to be more effort in terms of resources and preventative action. Several nations have also recently enacted new domestic violence legislation, including Lebanon. On April 2 the Lebanese Parliament passed [JURIST report] a new law criminalizing domestic violence after several women died, allegedly as a result of abuse by their husbands. On February 19 the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a study showing that the rates of violent crime in the United States have decreased [JURIST report] compared to recent years. In September of last year UN officials urged [JURIST report] for global intervention in Eastern Africa to combat organized crime; the GSH showed that homicide rates were much higher in nations with severe problems with organized crime.

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