12 Apr 2014

Honduras tops world murder rate - UN

11:03 am on 12 April 2014

For the second consecutive year, Honduras has the world's highest murder rate.

Military police on patrol in Tegucigalpa in October.

Military police on patrol in Tegucigalpa in October. Photo: AFP (file)

The murder rate in 2012 was 90.4 homicides per 100,000 people, almost double Venezuela's rate of 53.7.

According to a report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Central America fared particularly badly. Belize had a murder rate of 44.7, while El Salvador's was 41.2 per 100,000.

In a previous report in 2011, Honduras topped the list, with El Salvador in second place and Venezuela in third.

In the UN's latest report, the Americas overtook Africa as the region with most murders, due to a surge in organized crime, which is often funded from the proceeds of drug smuggling.

Nearly 40 percent of the 437,000 murders committed globally in 2012 took place in the Americas, with the majority in Central and South America, the report found.

"Overall, organized crime (or) gang-related homicide accounts for 30 percent of homicides in the Americas," the report said.

Other countries with high murder rates include Guatemala, with 39.9 murders per 100,000; South Africa with 31; Colombia with 30.8; and Brazil with 25.2.