The safety of citizens, both for its objective (antisocial or criminal behaviour) and subjective elements (perception of social alarm by individuals), is one of the indicators of the “state of health” of a community, as well as an essential dimension of civil coexistence. Statistical information in this field is a fundamental aid to guide and evaluate safety policies and improve the coexistence among citizens.
In Italy, in 2019, intentional homicides were 315 (0.53 per 100,000 inhabitants), showing a further decrease compared to the previous year, which confirms the long-term downward trend.
The victims of homicide were more often men (64.8%), while women consequently accounted for 35.2%. When the victim was a woman, the murder mainly took place within the family: in 61.3% of cases, the killer was the partner or ex-partner, in 22.5% of cases he was another family member. The victim knew the killer to some extent in 4.5% of cases, while no relationship emerged in 10.8% of cases. With regard to men, however, only 27.9% of homicides occurred within the family, in a further 7.8% by known people, while in 43.1% of cases there was no relationship between the murderer and the victim. When the victim was a man, the murderer remained unknown in 21.1% of cases (compared to 0.9% for women).
Compared to 2018, the number of thefts, robberies (-10.1% and -14.6%, respectively) and attempted homicides (-3.0%) decreased.
In addition, in 2020 the share of households who perceived the risk of crime in the area where they lived decreased (22.7% compared to 25.6 in 2019).
The prison population decreased (-13.2% at the end of 2020, compared to the previous year), partly due to regulatory changes, implemented to limit the spread of covid19 in prisons. As a result, the overcrowding index went from 119.9 prisoners per hundred official capacity, in 2019, to 105.5, in 2020.
In Italy, the distribution of crimes was not homogeneous and differed considerably according to the type of crime. In 2019, with regard to perpetrated intentional homicides, the South and Islands recorded a much higher incidence than the Centre-North (0.70 and 0.44 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants respectively). With a rate of 1.47 homicides per hundred thousand inhabitants, Calabria has clearly diverged, negatively, from other Italian regions. For attempted homicides, the incidence was higher in the South and Islands (2.15 per hundred thousand inhabitants) than in the Center-North (1.48).
Among the regions where the robberies were mostly committed, Campania emerged, with a rate of 84.3 per hundred thousand inhabitants, followed by Lazio and Lombardy (49.9 and 49.2 respectively).
The regional incidence of thefts was also heterogeneous, mainly due to the unequal economic attractiveness and the different propensity to report, especially when the stolen assets are of little value and objects are not particular , such as, for example, vehicles, weapons and documents. The Regions of the Centre and North recorded the highest incidence of thefts, in particular Lazio (with 2,411.2 thefts per hundred thousand inhabitants), followed by Emilia-Romagna (2,322.5), Toscana (2,241.1) and Lombardia (2,180.8).
Two out of three Italian regions had, at the end of 2020, a prison crowding index exceeding the value of 100, and therefore prisons hosted more prisoners than required by law. The regions with the greatest overcrowding were Puglia, Molise and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, showing values between 130.3 and 128.8 adult prisoners per one hundred official capacity.
In 2020, the highest proportion of households who perceived the risk of crimes was in Campania (34.6%), Lazio (31.0%) and Puglia (27.1%), the recorded values were significantly higher than the national average (22.7%).
In 2018, 0.57 voluntary homicides per hundred thousand inhabitants were committed in Italy. Among the EU countries, only Slovenia, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic showed lower values (between 0.48 and 0.52). Instead, Latvia and Lithuania (respectively 5.22 and 3.45 homicides per hundred thousand inhabitants) are above the EU average (0.93 homicides per hundred thousand inhabitants).
Italy was among the EU countries where the incidence of homicides was lower, even if we focus on female victims. For Italy, the recorded rate is equal to 0.43 homicide per one hundred thousand women, a value higher than the one recorded in Croatia, Ireland, the Netherlands and Poland, which showed values between 0.38 and 0.42.
With regard to the detention rate, in 2018, a significant variability among the EU countries was observed. The highest values were recorded in Lithuania and the Czech Republic (respectively 230.9 and 203.4 prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants), and the lowest ones (between 53 and 63 prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants) in Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
Italy showed 101.7 prisoners per 100 thousand inhabitants in 2018, occupying an intermediate position in the European ranking (14th, among the 25 available). However, when comparing the data showed in different countries, the alternative measures to detention should be considered.