What country has the highest rate of violent crime?
Violent crime is a crime in which an offender or perpetrator uses or threatens to use force upon a victim. Violent crimes include murder, assault, sexual assault, rape, kidnapping, homicide, manslaughter, and negligence. Violent crime entails both crimes in which the violent act is the objective (murder or rape) and crimes in which violence is the means to an end.
Violent crime rates vary greatly between countries. Although there is no clear reason why crimes are committed, there are numerous factors that affect crime rates. Countries with high crime rates typically have high poverty levels and low job availability. Crime rates tend to be lower in countries with favorable living conditions (wealthy), straight police enforcement, and tough sentences for crimes. There is a strong correlation between age and crime. Most crimes, especially violent crimes, are committed by those ages 20-30.
According to the Global Study on Homicide, 464,000 people died from violent crimes in 2017. The report states that countries with high firearm rates have higher intentional homicide rates.
Some of the lowest violent crime rates can be seen in Europe. Many European countries have violent crime rates of less than 1 incident per 100,000 people. These countries have stricter gun laws and less ownership as well as effective law enforcement.
The table below has each country’s murder and rape rates (number of incidents per 100,000 people. Based on this information, the ten countries with the highest murder rates are:
- El Salvador (82.84)
- Jamaica (57)
- Honduras (41.7)
- Belize (37.9)
- South Africa (35.9)
- Lesotho (41.25)
- Brazil (30.5)
- Saint Lucia (29.6)
- Guatemala (26.1)
- Dominica (25.7)
Rape rates only count those that are reported to the police. Around the world, rape and sexual assault are grossly underreported. The ten countries with the highest rape rates are:
- South Africa (132.4)
- Botswana (92.9)
- Lesotho (82.7)
- Bermuda (67.3)
- Sweden (63.5)
- Suriname (45.2)
- Costa Rica (36.7)
- Nicaragua (31.6)
- Grenada (30.6)
- Saints Kitts and Nevis (28.6)
South Africa has the highest rape rate in the world of 132.4 reported incidents for every 100,000 people. South Africa’s sexual violence crime rates continue to rise despite enacting the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act in 2007. The South African Medical Research Council conducted a survey reporting that approximately one in four South African men admitted to committing rape.
Reports such as the ones mentioned help governments realize what actions they need to take in order to reduce violent crimes and protect their citizens.