Crime is "main source" of armed violence

A Swiss-funded international study has found that, contrary to what is commonly thought, crime is a far greater source of armed violence than war.

This content was published on October 27, 2011 - 14:27
swissinfo.ch and agencies

According to the 2011 Global Burden of Armed Violence report, around 526,000 people die violently every year – more than 1,400 people a day. By comparison, 55,000 die a year as a result of war or terrorism.

The study, which was released in Geneva on Thursday, also found that 396,000 people were murdered outside of armed conflict annually and that another 54,000 people died from unintentional violence, or manslaughter. Police operations were said to account for 21,000 deaths a year.

Overall, the average annual violent death rate in 2004-2009 was calculated at 7.9 per 100,000 people. At least 58 countries exhibited violent death rates above 10.0 per 100,000, accounting for almost two-thirds of all violent deaths, a statement said.

Levels of armed violence in some non-conflict countries resembled those of conflict zones, the authors added. In an average year between 2004 and 2009, more people per capita were killed in El Salvador than in Iraq.

“The Global Burden of Armed Violence 2011 provides policy-makers and other stakeholders with a timely tool for respond­ing to evidence in designing policies and programmes at the local, national, and regional levels,” Peter Maurer, secretary of state at the Swiss foreign ministry, said in the statement.

The report was published by the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, which is endorsed by more than 100 countries, and calls upon states to achieve measurable reductions in the global burden of armed violence and tangible improvements in human security by 2015.

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