The rough guide to homicide
My 18-year-old daughter asked me on Saturday where she can safely travel to when she finishes school in June and has three months holiday before going to university in September. “The Muslim countries or Japan”, I replied.
She was quite taken aback. At school they talk about the USA, Australia, Thailand and South America. “No”, I said very empahtically, “I don’t want you to go there”, and then set about explaining to her and her mother why I felt so strongly.
I pulled out the figures from the new 2009 UN World Development Report. After a lot of research into different types of measurement, the UN decided that the only accurate one was the homicide rate. If you try to compare rape, theft, break-ins and so on, there is confusion: every country, apart from those in European Union, measure these in different ways. Some figures are accurate, some seem like they’ve been drawn out of a hat.
But most countries report their murder rate pretty accurately. There may be under-counting where there is civil strive, as in Sri Lanka, where murder and the killings of war can blur into each other. But in most difficult cases, like Russia, press reports can help balance the official figures.
To cut a long story short, I would gladly let her go to Egypt, which has the world’s lowest murder rate: at 0.4 per 100,000 population. Although it is closely followed by Japan at 0.5, other Muslim, mainly Arab, countries follow next, all with less than 1 murder per 100,000 of population. The United Arab Emirates, including that hot bed, Dubai, is at 0.6; Oman at 0.6; Saudi Arabia at 0.9; Bahrain at 1; and Jordan at 0.9. Even Indonesia, with all its political troubles, comes out at 1.1. Outside the Arab countries, the Scandinavian countries are the safest. Norway is at 0.8, Denmark at 0.8 and Iceland at 1. But Sweden breaks the Scandinavian success rate with a poor 2.4. Holland and Ireland do well too.
So, daughter, there is your list that I approve and your mother has been persuaded to approve. None of the others you mention or think about are safe, so forget about them. Ironically for us, they are countries with a Christian heritage- the U.S at 5.6; Mexico at 13;…