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Everyday Dangers

The Small Arms Survey 2013: Everyday Dangers explores the many faces of armed violence outside the context of armed conflict. Includes chapters on the use of firearms in intimate partner violence, the evolution of gangs in Nicaragua, Italian organized crime groups, and trends in armed violence in South Africa.

Non-conflict Armed Violence

By far the largest human burden of armed violence is caused by deaths and injuries that occur in non-conflict and non-war settings. Countries such as El Salvador, Jamaica, and South Africa suffer from extremely high recorded levels of homicide, with more deaths each year than in many contemporary wars.

Non-conflict deaths are often distinguished from the deaths that arise from armed conflict based on the organization of the killing. Homicide is usually committed by individuals or small groups, whereas the killing in armed conflict is committed by relatively cohesive groups of up to several hundred members. But there is often little difference in intensity between large-scale criminal violence and low-level armed conflict, and the line between the two is frequently blurred. Non-conflict-related armed violence includes different dimensions, such as firearm homicides, violence in cities, gendered violent deaths, and the issue of the effectiveness of criminal justice systems.

Approximately 60 per cent of all violent deaths are committed with firearms, with variation from a low of 19 per cent in West and Central Europe to a high of 77 per cent in Central America, based on data from 45 countries. That represents 245,000 firearms deaths per year.

Non-conflict armed violence includes homicides, suicides, extrajudicial killings, and other forms of death or injury, such as those resulting from domestic violence or gender-based armed violence, social cleansing, or disappearances and kidnappings.


Small Arms Survey Publications

  • Firearms and Violent Deaths, October 2016. Research Note No. 60.

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  • Monitoring Trends in Violent Deaths, September 2016. Research Note No. 59.

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  • The Value of Hospital Data: Understanding and Preventing Intentional Injury in Liberia, by Lucie Collinson, Andrew Winnington, and Mary Vriniotis, January 2016. Working Paper No. 22.

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  • Violent Deaths due to Legal Interventions, July 2015. Research Note No. 53, Armed Violence.

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  • Handgun Ownership and Armed Violence in the Western Balkans, September 2014, Armed Violence Issue Brief No. 4.

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  • Firearm Suicides, August 2014. Research Note No. 44, Armed Violence.

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  • Inclusive Security, Inclusive Cities, April 2014, by Emilia Frost and Matthias Nowak, published by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat.  Policy Paper No.1. (also available in French and Spanish). 

  • Firearms and Violence in Honduras, March 2014. Research Note No. 39, Armed Violence (also available in Spanish).

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  • Risky Business? Crime and Security Perceptions in the Nepali Private Sector, November 2013. Nepal Armed Violence Assessment Issue Brief No. 3 (Also available in Nepali)

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  • Geospatial Technologies and Crime: The Jamaican Experience, October 2013, Armed Violence Issue Brief No. 3

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  • Dividing lines: Grazing and conflict along the Sudan–South Sudan border, by Joshua Craze, July 2013. Working Paper No. 30

  • The Missing Middle: Examining the Armed Group Phenomenon in Nepal, May 2013. Nepal Armed Violence Assessment Issue Brief No. 1 (Also available in Nepali)

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  • In Search of Lasting Security: An Assessment of Armed Violence in Nepal, by Mihaela Racovita, Ryan Murray, and Sudhindra Sharma, a joint publication of the  Interdisciplinary Analysts, and the Small  Arms Survey's Nepal Armed Violence Assessment project, supported by Australian Aid, AusAID. May 2013. Special Report No. 20. (This report is also available in Nepali)

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  • At War's End: Armed Violence in Nepal, May 2013. Research Note No. 29, Armed Violence (also available in Nepali).

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  • Armed Violence Monitoring Systems, March 2013. Research Note No. 27, Armed Violence (also available in Arabic and in Spanish).

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  • Political Conflict and Vulnerabilities: Firearms and Electoral Violence in Kenya, December 2012, Armed Violence Issue Brief No. 2

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  • Urban Armed Violence, November 2012. Research Note No. 23, Armed Violence. 

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  • Peace without Security: Violence against Women and Girls in Liberia, September 2012. Issue Brief No. 3

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  • A Heavy Hand: The Use of Force by India's Police, August 2012. India Armed Violence Assessment Issue Brief No. 3 (also available in Hindi).

  • Guatemala en la encrucijada. Panorama de una violencia transformada (in Spanish), by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat, CERAC, and the Small Arms Survey (Executive Summary in English and Spanish, and Press Release in English and Spanish also available). Published by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat and CERAC.

  • Availability of Small Arms and Perceptions of Security in Kenya: An Assessment, by Manasseh Wepundi, Eliud Nthiga, Eliud Kabuu, Ryan Murray, and Anna Alvazzi del Frate, a joint publication of Kenya National Focus Point on Small Arms and Light Weapons, and the Small Arms Survey, with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. June 2012. Special Report No. 16. (This report is also available in Swahili. An Executive Summary including recommendations is also available in English and Swahili.)

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  • Armed Violence: Spotlight on Lethal Effects, May 2012. Research Note No. 17, Armed Violence.

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  • Blue Skies and Dark Clouds: Kazakhstan and Small Arms, by Nicolas Florquin, Dauren Aben, and Takhmina Karimova, May 2012. Occasional Paper No. 29 (also available in Kazakh and Russian; Executive Summary available in English, Kazakh, and Russian)

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  • Enquête nationale sur les armes légères et de petit calibre en Côte d'Ivoire: les défis du contrôle des armes et de la lutte contre la violence armée avant la crise post-électorale, by Savannah de Tessières, a joint publication of the UNDP, the Commission Nationale de Lutte contre la Prolifération et la Circulation Illicite des Armes Légères et de Petit Calibre, Côte d'Ivoire, and the Small Arms Survey, April 2012. Special Report No. 14 (Summary available in English).

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  • Global Burden of Armed Violence 2011: Lethal Encounters, by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat. Published by Cambridge University Press. October 2011.

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  • Reading between the Lines: Crime and Victimization in Liberia, September 2011. Liberia Armed Violence Assessment Issue Brief No. 2

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  • A Legacy of War? Perceptions of Security in Liberia, September 2011. Liberia Armed Violence Assessment Issue Brief No. 1

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  • Firearm-related Violence in Mozambique, a joint publication of the Ministry of the Interior of Mozambique, the World Health Organization—Mozambique, and the Small Arms Survey, June 2009. Special Report No. 10

    Download (2.49 MB)
  • Gangs of Central America: Causes, Costs, and Interventions, by Dennis Rodgers, Robert Muggah, and Chris Stevenson, May 2009. Occasional Paper No. 23

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  • Small Arms in Rio de Janeiro: The Guns, the Buyback, and the Victims, by Pablo Dreyfus, Luis Eduardo Guedes, Ben Lessing, Antônio Rangel Bandeira, Marcelo de Sousa Nascimento, and Patricia Silveira Rivero, a study by the Small Arms Survey, Viva Rio, and ISER, December 2008. Special Report No. 9

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  • Global Burden of Armed Violence 2008, by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat, September 2008.

  • Armed and Aimless: Armed Groups, Guns, and Human Security in the ECOWAS Region, edited by Nicolas Florquin and Eric G. Berman, May 2005 (also available in French).

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  • Firearm-related Violence in Brazil, co-published with the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization, coordinated by Maria Fernanda Tourinho Peres, November 2004. (Summary report also available)

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Other Publications

  • Marco jurídico normativo internacional y regional sobre armas de fuego: armonización de la normativa nacional de armas de fuego, municiones, explosivos y otros similares, by Leyla Elisa Díaz López, February 2016. Violence and Security in Honduras, unpublished Policy Brief No. 1.

    Download (132.14 KB)
  • Reformas legales en materia de armas en Honduras: el discurso político en los medios, by Arabeska Sánchez, February 2016. Violence and Security in Honduras, unpublished Policy Brief No. 2.

    Download (134.28 KB)
  • La remilitarización de la seguridad pública en Honduras: control y regulación de armamentos, y prevención de la violencia armada, by Leticia Salomón, February 2016. Violence and Security in Honduras, unpublished Policy Brief No. 3.

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  • Bateson, Regina. 2009. The Political Consequences of Crime Victimization in Latin America. Paper presented at the Midwest Political Science Association 67th Annual National Conference. Chicago, 2 April.

  • Feldab-Brown, Vanda. 2009. The Violent Drug Market in Mexico and Lessons from Colombia. Policy Paper No. 12. Foreign Policy at Brookings. Washington D.C.: Brookings.

  • Calame, John and Esther Charlesworth. 2009. Divided Cities - 
Belfast, Beirut, Jerusalem, Mostar, and Nicosia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

    More information
  • Harrendorf, S., M. Heiskanen and S. Malby. 2009. International Statistics on Crime and Justice. Helsinki and Vienna: European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

    More information
  • UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime). 2008. Crime and its impact on the Balkans and affected countries. Vienna: UNODC.

  • WHO (World Health Organization). 2008. Violence Prevention, the evidence. Geneva: WHO.

    More information
  • UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime). 2007. Crime and Development in Central America - Caught in the Crossfire. Vienna: UNODC.

  • Richmond, T. S., R. Cheney, and C.W. Schwab. 2005. The global burden of non-conflict related firearm mortality. Injury Prevention, Vol. 11, No. 6. December, pp. 348–352.

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  • Mathers, Colin D., et al. 2005. Counting the Dead and What They Died From: An Assessment of the Global Status of Cause of Death Data. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. Vol. 83, No. 3. March, pp. 171-180.

  • Dahlberg, Linda, Robin M. Ikeda, and Marcie-Jo Kresnow. 2004. Guns in the Home and Risk of a Violent Death in the Home: Findings from a National Study. American Journal for Epidemiology, Vol. 160, No. 10. November, pp. 929–936.

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  • Moser, Caroline. 2004. Urban Violence and Insecurity: An Introductory Roadmap. Environment and Urbanization. Vol. 16, Number 12. October.

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  • Krug, Etienne G. et al., eds. 2002. World report on violence and health. Geneva: World Health Organization.

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  • Reza, A., J. A. Mercy, and E. Krug. 2001. Epidemiology of violent deaths in the world. Injury Prevention, Vol. 7. Pp. 104–111.

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