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.