Knives were used in 97,183 killings in 2017, or 22% of all homicides, according to the 2019 Global Study on Homicide by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Even in nations with low crime rates, knife assaults and stabbing fatalities are common. There is a wide variation in the frequency of knife-related violence (including knives and other “sharp items,” such as scissors or axes) in different regions of the United States.
More than seven out of ten of all killings in North America were caused by firearms, with knife fatalities accounting for fewer than 20 percent. In Europe, on the other hand, weapons are used in just 20% of murders, while knives are utilized in over 40% of cases.
Knives and other sharp objects were used in more than half of the killings in sixteen nations, according to the United Nations.
The following are the 16 countries with the highest proportion of homicides committed with a knife between 2013 and 2016:
- Cuba ≅ 76%
- Azerbaijan ≅ 75.5%
- Bhutan ≅ 73%
- Tanzania ≅ 72%
- Algeria ≅ 68%
- Grenada ≅ 67%
- Qatar ≅ 66%
- Morocco ≅ 64%
- Slovenia ≅ 61%
- Bahrain ≅ 59%
- Singapore ≅ 59%
- Poland ≅ 57%
- Kazakhstan ≅ 57%
- Sri Lanka ≅ 52.5%
- Guyana ≅ 52%
- Hungary ≅ 51%
Figures on the proportion of murders committed with knives and other sharp objects do not always indicate the overall homicide rate or total number. For example, Guyana, Tanzania, and Grenada have the highest murder rates among these nations, while Qatar and Slovenia have the lowest.
Knife-related violence and fatal stabbings are on the rise in the US.
Since 2014, knife-related violence has increased over the globe. The availability of knives, which are cheaper and simpler to get than weapons, is one of the key reasons for this surge.
United Nations 2017 survey also found that nations with the highest rates of murder tend to have a larger number of guns in their population. Comparatively, in nations with lower homicide rates, “other mechanisms” and sharp objects/knives were the most common means of murder.
As a result of stricter gun control legislation, knife-wielding assailants are forced to turn to knives rather than weapons. Stabbing fatalities correlate inversely with gun violence, therefore, countries with high stabbing rates are less likely than others to have high rates of mass shootings.
Stabbed-death statistics for each nation are tough to come by. If you are looking for an estimate of how many people die from “physical violence by a sharp item,” the Global Health Data Exchange keeps a comprehensive database. The whole table is shown at the bottom of the page, but here are the top ten:
A look at the top 10 countries with the most stabbing deaths according to GHDE predictions for 2019.
- Brazil – 9,885
- South Africa – 9,424
- India – 8,931
- Russia – 6,336
- Philippines – 5,491
- Nigeria – 5,099
- Mexico – 4,699
- China – 4,590
- Pakistan – 3,388
- Colombia – 3,131
Table of Contents
Europe’s Problem with Knife Crime
Europe has a higher stab-related fatalities and injuries rate than the United States. There has been a significant rise in knife offenses committed by young people in northern Europe.
The 15-19 and 20-24 age brackets in Northern and Western European nations have the highest fatalities caused by sharp items. There are three times as many fatalities by a knife in these nations as by gunshot in the 20-24-year-old age bracket.
Hospitalizations for knife or sharp object-related assaults rose by 34% between 2002 and 2007.
In 2013, a 13-year-old girl was fatally stabbed in the United Kingdom, making headlines as one of Europe’s high-profile knife homicides. Anti-knife campaigns were launched throughout the United Kingdom after her death.
Asia’s Epidemic of Knife Crime
Knife assaults are not commonplace in China, despite the country’s tight gun control laws. China is one of the few nations where individual ownership of weapons is outlawed in most situations.
Even though the exact number of assaults each year cannot be determined, it is evident from the media coverage that attempts to limit access to knives or penalize the perpetrators have failed to stop the violence.
In 2014, a gang of eight men and women brandishing long-bladed knives assaulted customers at a Kunming railway station, hurting more than 140 people and killing 29 civilians.
In Asia, knife violence is not confined to China alone. A knife-wielding ex-employee murdered 19 people and wounded 26 others at a care facility for the handicapped in Japan in 2016.
Three people were killed (including the assailant), and 18 others were injured in the Kawasaki stabbings later in 2019. The 2008 Nonhyeon-dong massacre, in which a sashimi knife was used to murder six people and wound seven more, is one example of a knife assault in South Korea.
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