Guyana cited for high murder rate

Guyana has one of the highest homicide rates in the world with just over 20 deaths per 100,000 of the country’s population making it the 16th most homicidal country globally.

The Global Status Report on Violence Prevention 2014 compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Development Programme, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was released earlier this month and it says that Guyana’s estimated rate of homicide per 100 000 of the population was 20.2 persons for 2012. According to the report, Latin America is the most murderous region in the world

The report reveals that 475 000 people were murdered in 2012, and homicide is the third leading cause of death globally for males aged 15-44 years. The Global Status Report on Violence Prevention 2014, which reflects data from 133 countries, is the first report of its kind to assess national efforts to address interpersonal violence, namely child maltreatment, youth violence, intimate partner and sexual violence, and elder abuse. The report reviews the current status of violence prevention efforts in countries, and calls for a scaling up of violence prevention programmes; stronger legislation and enforcement of laws relevant for violence prevention; and enhanced services for victims of violence.

Globally, Honduras is the country with the highest number of homicides per 100 000 of its population and it is followed by Venezuela, Jamaica, Belize, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, South Africa, Lesotho, Trinidad, Brazil, The Bahamas, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and then Guyana respectively. Within Caricom, Guyana is the sixth most murderous country.

Using information supplied by the police, the report said that reported homicides in Guyana for 2011 totalled 130 and of this number, 74% of those killed were males and 26% females. The mechanism of homicide, according to the information supplied by the police was: sharp force- 40%, firearms -19%, blunt force – 9%, burn – 4%, strangulation – 2%, other- 7% and unknown – 19%.

The UNODC reported a higher homicide number – 135- than the police while the WHO estimated that homicide mechanisms were firearms – 49%, sharp force – 47% and other mechanisms -5%.

According to the police force, a total of 127 murders were recorded at the end of November 2014 in comparison to 133 murders for the same period in 2013, a decrease of 5%.

Within low- and middle-income countries, the highest estimated rates of homicide occur in the Region of the Americas, with 28.5 homicides per 100 000 population, followed by the African Region with a rate of 10.9 homicides per 100 000 population. The lowest estimated rate of homicide is in the low- and middle-income countries of the Western Pacific Region, with 2.1 per 100 000 population.

“Despite indications that homicide rates decreased by 16% globally between 2000 and 2012, violence remains widespread. Non-fatal acts of violence take a particular toll on women and children. One in four children has been physically abused; one in five girls has been sexually abused; and one in three women has been a victim of physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence at some point in her lifetime,” the report said.

It noted that interpersonal violence is a risk factor for lifelong health and social problems. It is both predictable and preventable, and responsibility for addressing it rests clearly with national governments, the report said.

The report calls for a scaling up of violence prevention programmes in all countries; stronger legislation and enforcement of laws relevant for violence prevention; strengthened justice and security institutions to uphold the rule of law; and enhanced services for victims of violence. It also advocates for better and more effective use of data to inform violence prevention programming and to measure progress. The report is intended for use by governments to help identify gaps and encourage and guide actions, and by nongovernmental organizations and experts to assist governments in their efforts.


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