Johannesburg - Swaziland has a higher murder rate than South Africa, and both countries have entered the UN’s top 10 for this type of crime during 2012.
However, the data is skewed because nearly a quarter of the countries listed in the UN’s Global Study on Homicide report do not have reliable murder rates for the period of study.
The UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) releases this report annually, and its report for last year, published on April 10, details murder rates for 2012 around the world.
Swaziland made its debut entry into the list as this was the first time there was reliable data of murders committed in the country, provided by the World Health Organisation.
The murder rate is calculated by the number of murders committed in one year per 100 000 people of a country’s population.
Swaziland ranked seventh on the list, while South Africa placed ninth, with murder rates of 33.8 and 31 respectively.
Swaziland’s population is 44 times smaller than South Africa’s and there were 40 times fewer murders committed in 2012.
Although South Africa’s murder rate had dropped by 0.8 percentage points from the previous year – a trend the report described as “encouraging” – it moved up in the rankings from 16th.
This is because there was no reliable data for 2012 for 62 out of 218 countries in the study.
“Law enforcement agencies will leave no stone unturned in their endeavour to continue reducing murder and other crimes,” said Phumla Williams, the acting chief executive of the Government Communication and Information System.
The top three countries were from central and South America, namely Honduras, Venezuela and Belize, with rates of 90.4, 53.7 and 44.7 respectively.
If Gauteng was counted as an autonomous state, it would be at 17th place in the report, with a murder rate of 24.
This would rank it between Brazil and Rwanda and would push Mexico out of the top 20.
A total of 2 979 murders were committed in the province during 2011/12.
The UNODC found that nearly half-a-million people had been murdered across the world during 2012.
Eighty percent of the victims and 95 percent of the perpetrators were men, said Jean-Luc Lemahieu, director for policy analysis and public affairs at the UNODC.