According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, firearms account for about 76% of homicides in the Americas, while knives account for about 10%. In Europe, however, firearms account for 36% of homicides and knives are involved in 43%.
Knife violence is not as common in the United States and the Western Hemisphere as it is in Europe and other countries in Asia. The UN also reports that a man in the Americas is six times as likely to die by firearm than by a knife; however, a man in Asian countries is almost as likely to die by a knife as a firearm.
The countries with common knife attacks or higher rates of homicide by knife or sharp object have tight gun control laws. Rates of violent crimes involving knives in these countries reflect their restrictions on guns.
Knife carrying is common in young people around the world and is a result of victimization or fear of bullying or violence, involvement in street gangs, or engagement in other risky behaviors. It is difficult to determine the exact scale of knife-carrying among a population.
There is a lack of data available for stabbing deaths or deaths by knife or sharp object. Trends in certain regions of the world can be examined to give an idea of which countries have the highest rates.
Knife Violence in Europe
Stabbing deaths and injuries are more common in Europe than they are in the Americas. Particularly in northern Europe, where levels of knife crimes among young people have increased and made headlines. Deaths by sharp objects are especially noticeable in the 15-19 and 20-24 age groups in Northern and Western European countries. The proportion of knife deaths is about three times greater than firearm deaths in these countries for the 20-24 age group. Between 2002 and 2007, hospital admissions for assault by a knife or sharp object increased by 34%.
One example of homicide by knife in Europe is in 2013, a 13-year-old girl was stabbed to death in the United Kingdom. Her death spark anti-knife campaigns thorough out the U.K. Additionally, a 16-year-old in Germany stabbed 41 people at an opening ceremony for a train station in 2006.
Knife Violence in Asia
In China, which has strict gun regulations, knife attacks are not uncommon. The number of attacks per year is not clear but attacks are regularly reported in the media, showing that efforts to regulate the purchase of knives or punishment of the attackers have been unsuccessful in deterring the violence.
China has had large knife attacks resulting in many injuries and deaths. In 2014, about 10 men and women wielding knives in a Kunming train station, injuring more than 130 people and resulting in 28 deaths.
Other Asian countries that have experienced frequent knife violence include Japan and South Korea. In 2001, a janitor in the Osaka killed eight children with a kitchen knife. A Tokyo man killed four people in a random stabbing spree in 2008. In South Korea, a man killed eight people in his apartment complex in 2008