Homicide Rate in Europe

Which areas in Europe have the highest homicide rate?


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Map of the homicide rate in Europe.

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Of all crime statistics, the homicide rate is considered to be one of the most reliable ones. Unlike other crimes, homicides (almost) always get reported to the police, whereas robbery and theft might be under-reported due to people not bothering to report it. However, let’s not exclude the fact that many authoritarian regimes are very opaque about statistics that make them look bad, including homicide. Although this is not the case for the countries on this map.

The numbers on this map represent the age-standardised homicide rate per 100,000 inhabitants. We can see that for most of Europe, the rate is between 0.0 and 1.0. When we move further east, we find more and more areas with a homicide rate of over 1.0. The Baltics, Sweden, Finland, Romania, Serbia, Turkey and Cyprus all have quite a few areas where the homicide rate is over 1.0.

Latvia has the highest homicide rate in Europe (3.32), followed by the Agri, Kars, Igdir, Ardahan area in eastern Turkey (2.63). Third is Valle d’Aosta in north-western Italy (2.51). The latter one surprised me and when looking at the numbers of previous years, this seems to be an exception, it normally is below 1.0. Valle d’Aosta apparently is a relatively safe area. I haven’t found a definitive cause for this up-tick. My suspicion is that it’s due to the area’s low population number (125k). If the number of homicides increases by only 1, it could already significantly increase the homicide rate.

To avoid these kinds of outliers, it would be better to use the average rate of several years. However, the homicide rate data has a lot of gaps. For most areas, the homicide rate is missing for some years. Making it impossible to calculate the average over several years. The map would end up having no data for half of the areas.

Despite that, the homicide rate in 2018/2019 doesn’t differ that much from the 3-year average for most of the areas. There are three areas on this map where 2018/2019 had a significantly higher homicide rate than normal: Valle d’Aosta (Italy), Kirikkale-Aksaray-Nigde-Nevsehir-Kirsehir (Turkey) and Moravskoslezsko (Czech Republic).

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