Colombia’s homicide rate is among one of the highest in Latin America, according to a report published on Friday by the Organization of American States.

The “Report On Citizen Security in the Americas 2012”, which was presented in Washington by the Hemispheric Observatory of Security section of OAS, claimed there were 17,459 homicides in Colombia in 2010. That figure translates into approximately 37.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.

The figures rank Colombia in eighth place out of the 34 countries in the region and indicate a modest decrease compared to the 2009 set of data, when there were 38.8 deaths per 100,000 population and 17,717 homicides in total.

An estimated 79% of homicides in Colombia were committed with firearms, compared to only 21% in European countries.

The report also showed that 25% of all homicides in the region had demonstrable links to organized crime. By way of comparison, only 5% of homicides in Europe are attributed to this type of crime.

Honduras won the dubious honour of being the country with the highest rate of violent crime in 2010, with 81.9 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. Conversely, Chile reaffirmed its reputation as one of the safest countries in South America with only 634 reported homicides in 2010.

While the statistics revealed an overall rise in homicides in Central America over the past decade, the report made clear that the circumstances of crime in each country were highly distinct.

From Colombia Reports