Everyone wants to live in a safe neighborhood. In many parts of the world, however, that's a luxury some people just don't have.
A new report released by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime on Thursday serves as a stark reminder of how drastically murder rates vary from country to country. The Global Study on Homicide 2013 found that nearly half a million people were intentionally murdered in 2012, and killings were largely concentrated in two regions: the Americas and Africa.
UNODC defines homicide as " an unlawful death purposefully inflicted on a person by another person," not directly related to an armed conflict. The data is collected from each country's law enforcement or health authorities, or where this is not available, from World Health Organization estimates.
According to the study, almost half of the 437,000 murders took place in countries with just 11 per cent of the global population. In 2012, the Americas overtook Africa as the region with the highest rate of killings.
Homicide rates, by country or territory (2012 or latest year), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Global Homicide Report 2013.
Sadly, the concentration of deadly violence in specific parts of the globe is nothing new. Murder rates in the Americas have remained high for decades, around five to eight times higher than Europe and Asia since the 1950s, according to the report.
Tellingly, the U.N. notes that the Americas have a vastly lower conviction rate for murder, at 24 per cent, compared to 48 per cent in Asia and 81 per cent in Europe.
Take a look at the photos below for the countries with the highest homicide rates in the world, and find out which country recorded the most murders in 2012.
As Colombia struggles to end a 50-year internal conflict, the murder rate in the country remains high, at 30.8 per 100,000 in 2012.
Women march during a rally to demand peace and against discrimination in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 22, 2013. (EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP/Getty Images)
9. South Africa
South Africa is still one of the most dangerous countries in the world, but it has almost halved its murder rate in recent decades. In 2012, South Africa's homicide rate stood at 31 per 100,000 people, compared to 64.5 per 100,000 in 1995.
Women take part in a drumming session in downtown Johannesburg, to protest against violence against women and children, March 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)
8. Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts and Nevis has a high proportion of murders relative to its tiny population, 33.6 per 100,000 in 2012. The actual number of homicides recorded was 18.
An aerial view of the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, Sept. 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, file)
Swaziland also has a high proportion of murders relative to its small population, 33.8 per 100,000 in 2012.
Voters queue to cast their votes for parliament at a voting station in Nhlangano, Swaziland, Sept. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Mongie Zulu)
Jamaica's fight against drugs and organized crime has reduced the country's homicide rate since 2009, but it remains one of the world's most dangerous countries, with 39.3 murders per 100,00 in 2012.
Art student Jason Lorraine stands in front of a mural he designed calling for an end to violence in a corner of Tivoli Gardens, a slum in Kingston, Jamaica, Oct. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/David McFadden)
Guatemala, with 39.9 murders per 100,000 in 2012, still struggles to contain the violent legacy of a 36-year civil war.
Ixil Indian women and men whose family members were killed in the country's civil war celebrate the judge's guilty verdict for Guatemala's former dictator Jose Efrain Rios Montt, Guatemala City, May 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Luis Soto)
4. El Salvador
El Salvador's murder rate in 2012 was 41.2 per 100,000, the fourth largest in the world.
Masked gang members hand over weapons during a symbolic act for peace at Gerardo Barrios Square in San Salvador, July 12, 2012. (Jose CABEZAS/AFP/GettyImages)
Crime-torn Belize had a murder rate of 44.7 per 100,000 in 2012, the third highest in the world.
Belizean soldiers are posted in parts of Belize City where gang violence is highest, September 16, 2011. (Nick Miroff/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Venezuela's soaring murder rate -- which stood at 53.7 per 100,000 in 2012 -- was one catalyst behind the swell of anti-government protests that have rocked the country since early 2014.
Demonstrators lie on the ground holding murder statistics at a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, March 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Honduras' homicide rate of 90.4 per 100,000 is the highest in the world ... by far. The country's gang violence and penetration by drug cartels puts its murder rate at almost double the next most dangerous country in the world.
University students take part in a wake for peace in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on October 27, 2011. (ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)