Central America leads the homicide rate in the world with 62.1 per 100,000 inhabitants getting killed in a small region that connects the south to the north of the continent.
Global organized crime, including Central American gangs to the gangs that traffic with migrants to the Russian mafia, is responsible for the same number of deaths as those caused by all the armed conflicts in the world, from the war in Syria or Afghanistan to the civil war in Sudan.
The latest UN Study on Homicide from 2019 presented in Vienna, records the figure of almost half a million violent deaths in 2017.
About 19% of these homicides were caused by criminal associations of all kinds, a figure similar to the 89,000 deaths in all active wars during that same year.
In total, since 2000, criminal groups killed almost one million people worldwide.
The majority, about 81% of those killed by violence are men with few social and economic perspectives. At the same time, more than 90% of the homicide suspects were also men.
The overall homicide rate has been going down in the last quarter of a century, but only because the global population has increased, not because violence has decreased. In 1992, 100,000 fewer fatalities were registered than in 2017.
Latin America is a hotbed of instability, linked mainly to socioeconomic factors, which is why it has become a the most violent region in the world with 173,000 fatalities, 37.4% of almost half a million deaths due to homicide, followed by Africa with 35.1%.
The report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime highlights, in various contexts and countries, the lack of opportunities as a major factor of violence.
On the other side of the coin, Europe, Asia and Oceania are below the world average in the homicide rate with 2.3, 2.8 and 3.0 per 100,000 inhabitants, respectively.
The data that has most caught the attention of researchers is “the concentration of crime in some places in Latin America,” explains the report.
“If the social bonds of the community or neighborhood are too weak to influence people’s behavior, crime, in particular, is more likely,” the study notes.
In Mexico City, four municipalities register more than a quarter of the homicides in the capital, while in Caracas, 50% are committed in three zones.
The political instability, added to the lack of employment, has had “a general negative effect” in Venezuela.
The South American country has suffered one of the biggest increases in the homicides: if in 2012 it was 13 people out of 100,000 who were murdered in cold blood, five years later, in 2017, the figure had risen to 57.
However, it is Central America that leads the homicide rate in the world: 62.1 per 100,000 inhabitants are killed in the small region that connects the south to the north of the continent.
Although researchers insist that the report does not conclude that the high homicide rates influence the migration crisis that the region is experiencing, it empahsizes that it is one of the triggers of the movement of people towards the north.
Impunity against crime is revealed one more year as the achilles heel of development in Latin America.
Another aspect pointed out by the study is that although women and girls represent a much smaller proportion of homicide victims than men, they are at greater risk of being killed by their partners or by someone in the family. This fact is not exclusive to Latin America, as it has become a global trend.