South-west 'has lowest rate of UK murders': Survey looks at cause of deaths in Europe

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The Independent Online
FEWER PEOPLE are murdered in south-west England than anywhere else in the UK, according to figures issued by the EC.

But even Devon and Cornwall are dangerous places compared with the Dutch region of Drenghe - which has a commendable zero incidence of murder per 100,000 inhabitants. The South-west's figure of 0.3 per 100,000 is well below the UK's average of 1.0 and Scotland's 3.2.

But the number of murders north of the border seem insignificant compared with the homicide hot-spots of the EC. The Italian regions of Calabria and Sicily record 8.5 and 4.8 respectively, and Northern Ireland has 6.8. Brussels has 3.7 murders per 100,000, just ahead of the Algarve in Portugal (3.6).

Murder is not a particular worry for the Irish, as the average rate of 0.8 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants is below the EC average of 1.2.

The survey is a breakdown of the 3.3 million annual deaths in the EC, almost half of which are caused by circulatory diseases - chiefly heart disease - and a quarter by malignant tumours.

The figures show deaths from tumours account for half of all deaths from women between 45 and 54 and circulatory diseases cause more deaths in Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal than anywhere else.

The highest incidences of breast cancer deaths are in the UK and Ireland, while male deaths from cirrhosis of the liver are lowest by far in the UK and highest in Portugal.

Greek women are least likely to commit suicide. More men than women commit suicide and mortality from lung cancer is highest in the Netherlands and Belgium.

The biggest single killer on average in the UK is respiratory-linked illness - pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema and asthma. Next comes lung cancer, stomach cancer and breast cancer.

The pattern is the same in the Republic of Ireland, although among Irish men heart disease stands out as a far greater killer than anywhere else in the EC.

But, in the run-up to the second Danish referendum on the Maastricht treatynext Tuesday, the most worrying statistic is the suicide rate in Denmark - 26 suicides per 100,000 inhabitants, way above the EC average of 11.2.