Contemporary Differences in Rates and Trends of Homicide Among European Nations



The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of contemporary differences in rates and trends in intentional homicide rates in Europe between 1990 and 2008. The analysis is based on data from the European Sourcebook, United Nations Surveys on Crime Trends and Operations of the Criminal Justice System (UNCS), and the World Health Organization (WHO) mortality statistics as well as on published reports (e.g., 2010; International statistics on crime and justice, 2010; European report on preventing violence and knife crime among young people, 2010). First, European homicide rates are placed in a global context, followed by comparisons between individual European countries and between European country clusters based on an elaboration of Esping-Andersen’s (The three worlds of welfare capitalism, 1990) typology of welfare states. The chapter also discusses citizenship (immigration status), gender, age, and weapon selection related to homicide in Europe.


Homicide Rate Country Cluster European Cluster Intentional Homicide High Homicide Rate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Aebi, M. F., Aubusson de Cavarlay, B., Barclay, G., Gruszczynska, B., Harrendorf, S., Heiskanen, M., et al. (2010). European sourcebook of crime and criminal justice statistics – 2010. Meppel: Boom Juridische Uitgevers.Google Scholar
  2. Barclay, G., & Tavares, C. (2002). International comparisons of criminal justice statistics 2000. Home Office Research Development & Statistics Bulletin, 5(2), 1–20.Google Scholar
  3. Bennett, R. R. (2010). Comparative criminology and criminal justice research and the data that drive them. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, 33(2), 171–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bennett, R. R., & Lynch, J. P. (1990). Does a difference make a difference? Comparing cross-national crime indicators. Criminology, 28, 153–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Black, D. (1970). Production of crime rates. American Sociological Review, 35, 733–748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Coleman, C., & Moynihan, J. (Eds.). (1996). Understanding crime data: Haunted by the dark figure. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Eisner, M. (2001). Modernization, self-control and lethal violence:The long-term dynamics of European homicide rates in theoretical perspective. British Journal of Criminology, 41, 618–638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Esping-Anderson, G. (1990). The three worlds of welfare capitalism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Eurostat. (2010). Crime trends in detail. Statistics explained. Retrieved April 4, 2011, from
  10. Gartner, R. (1995). Methodological issues in cross-­cultural large-survey research on violence. In R. B. Ruback & N. A. Weiner (Eds.), Interpersonal violent behaviors. Social and cultural aspects (pp. 7–24). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  11. Gruszczynska, B. (2004). Crime in Central and Eastern European countries in the enlarged Europe. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 10, 123–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gurr, T. R. (1981). Historical trends in violent crime: A critical review of the evidence. Crime and Justice: An annual Review of Research, 3, 295–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Harrendorf, S., Heiskanen, M., & Malby, S. (2010). International statistics on crime and justice. HEUNI: Helksinki.Google Scholar
  14. Heitmeyer, W., & Hagan, J. (Eds.). (2003). International handbook of violence research. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.Google Scholar
  15. Howard, G. J., Newman, G., & Pridemore, W. A. (2000). Theory, method and data in comparative criminology. In D. Duffee (Ed.), Measurement and analysis of crime and justice (Vol. 4: Crime and justice 2000) (pp. 139–212). Office of Justice Programs and National institute of Justice: Washington.Google Scholar
  16. Jakab, Z. (2010). Safe and equitable communities for young people in Europe. Europe: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  17. Krug, E. G., Dahlberg, L. L., Mercy, J. A., Zwi, A., & Lozano, R. (2002). World report on violence and health. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  18. LaFree, G. (1999). A summary and review of cross-national comparative studies of homicide. In M. D. Smith & M. A. Zahn (Eds.), Homicide: A sourcebook of social research (pp. 125–145). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  19. LaFree, G., & Drass, K. A. (2002). Counting homicide booms across nations: Evidence for homicide victimization rates, 1956 to 1998. Criminology, 40, 769–800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lappi-Seppala, T. (2007). Penal policy and prisoner rates in Scandinmavia. Cross-comparative perspectives on penal severity. In K. Nuotio (Ed.), Festschrift in honour of Raimo Lahti (pp. 265–306). Helsinki: Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki.Google Scholar
  21. Maguire, M. (2007). Crime data and statistics. In M. Maguire, R. Morgan, & R. Reiner (Eds.), The oxford handbook of criminology (pp. 241–301). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Malby, S. (2010). Homicide. In S. Harrendorf, M. Heiskanen & S. Malby (Eds.), International statistics on crime and justice. Publication Series No. 64 (pp. 7–19). Helsinki: HEUNI.Google Scholar
  23. Marshall, I. H. (2001). The criminological enterprise in Europe and the United States: A contextual exploration. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 9, 235–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Marshall, I. H. (2002). A macro-level comparative approach to criminal violence. Annual Conference of European Society of Criminology, Toledo, Spain.Google Scholar
  25. Marshall, I. H., & Block, C. R. (2004). Maximizing the availability of cross-national data on homicide. Homicide Studies, 8(3), 267–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Marshall, I. H., Marshall, C. E., & Ren, L. (2010). Mixed method measurement of homicide events in comparative research: An illustration of the potential of qualitative comparative analysis. International journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, 33(2), 273–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Messner, S. (2003). Understanding cross-national variation in criminal violence. In W. Heitmeyer & J. Hagan (Eds.), International handbook of violence research (pp. 701–717). Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  28. Pridemore, W. A. (2003). Measuring homicide in Russia: A comparison of estimates from the crime and vital statistics reporting systems. Social Science and Medicine, 57, 1343–1354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sethi, D., Hughes, K., Bellis, M., Mitis, F. & Racioppi, F. (2010). European Report on Preventing Violence and Knife Crime Among Young People, WHO Regional Office for Europe.Google Scholar
  30. Smit, P., Marshall, I. H., & van Gammeren, M. (2008). An empirical approach to country clustering. In K. Aromaa & M. Heiskanen (Eds.), Crime and criminal justice systems in Europe and North America 1995-2004 (pp. 169–195). HEUNI: Helsinki.Google Scholar
  31. Van Dijk, J. (2008). The world of crime. Breaking the silence on problems of security, justice, and development across the world. Los Angeles: Sage.Google Scholar
  32. Williams, J. L., & Rodeheaver, D. G. (2000). Violent crime in Russia and the United States: 1990-1996. International journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, 24(2), 135–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Criminology and Criminal JusticeNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations