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Homicides in Southern Denmark During 25 Years

NCJ Number
Homicide Studies Volume: 14 Issue: 4 Dated: November 2010 Pages: 419-435
Peter Mygind Leth
Date Published
November 2010
17 pages
This article provides an overview of all homicides in a region in Denmark.
The purpose of this investigation was to provide an analysis of the 166 homicidal deaths that occurred in Southern Denmark during 25 years. The inspiration came from increased press coverage of certain homicides that I as a forensic pathologist felt did not mirror the real situation. Extensive press coverage of a few serious cases has left the public with the impression that the number of homicides was escalating, and this has been cause for public concern, and has prompted various harsh legislative steps. A lot of public interest has been focused on knife homicides, on honor killings among Muslims, on gang homicides and on homicides committed by psychotic individuals. The political response to public opinion has to some degree been focused on increased punishment for violence. With this in mind, the aim of the investigation was to answer the following research questions: Research Question 1: What was the homicide rate in the study area, and has it changed during the 25-year study period? Research Question 2: How were the homicides distributed according to motive? Research Question 3: How often was the homicide motivated by a psychosis? Research Question 4: Has the ratio between intra- and extra-family homicides changed? Research Question 5: How often were weapons used? Research Question 6: Is it possible to identify some important social factors characterizing homicide victims? Research Question 7: Has the homicide pattern described changed over time? Research Question 8: What are the implications of this study for homicide prevention strategies? Tables, figures, and references (Published Abstract)