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The safety of citizens, both in its objective component (antisocial or criminal behaviour) and in its subjective component (perception of social alarm by individuals), represents 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 2018, intentional homicides perpetrated were 0.57 per 100,000 inhabitants, a slightly lower value compared to the previous year, which confirmed the long-term downward trend.
The homicide victims were more often men (61.4%), while women represented 38.6% of the cases. When the victim was a woman, the homicidal event mainly took place within the family: in over half of the cases (54.9%) the killer was the partner or ex partner, in 24.8% it was another family member. The victim knew the killer to some extent in 1.5% of cases; while no relationship emerged in 12.0% of cases. With regard to men, however, only 18.4% of homicides occurred within the family, in a further 10.8% by known people, while in 37.7% of cases there was no relationship between the perpetrator and the victim.
Compared to 2017, the number of thefts, robberies (-5.8% and -6.9%, respectively) and attempted homicides (-4.4%) also decreased.
In addition to these results, in 2019 the share of households who perceived
the risk of crime in the area where they lived decreased (25.6% compared to 28.6% in 2018).
In 2017, criminal proceedings began for 1,023.1 people per 100 thousand inhabitants, while the dismissal of the case affected 1,047. 8 people per 100 thousand inhabitants.
Considering the most serious crimes committed, in 2017 persons (aged 18 and older) were prosecuted mainly for: theft (93.5 prosecuted per 100,000 inhabitants), culpable injuries (73.0), crimes related to the violation of drugs legislation (62.5) and receiving stolen property (49.3).
In the period from 2006 to 2017, although it was increasing over the last two years, the number of persons prosecuted for violation of immigration legislation decreased (from 70.0 per 100 thousand inhabitants to 17.3). In recent years, swindles (from 35.0 per 100 thousand inhabitants in 2015 to 47.7 in 2017) and threats (from 22.2 in 2015 to 36.5 in 2017) increased. Corruption was rising, albeit to a lesser extent (from 0.6 in 2015 to 1.2 in 2017). In 2017, the rate of prosecuted or persecuting acts (stalking) was 11.2 per 100 thousand inhabitants, increasing after the slight decline recorded in the period from 2014 to 2016.
As for the final sentences of conviction, in 2018, they were 289,406 (479.0 per 100 thousand inhabitants), recording a 9.7% increase compared to 2017 (263,730). Among the definitive sentences, the most frequently committed crimes were: violations of the laws relating to drugs; simple or aggravated theft; culpable injury; receiving stolen property; violence, resistance or outrage against a public official; robbery; swindles. In 2018, the sentences containing only fines were 73,415 (+ 6.4%) increasing, compared to the previous year (69,010), with a rate of 121.5 per 100,000 inhabitants. In 2018 and in previous years, the most widespread fines concerned driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which represented 40.1% of all the offences registered in the Criminal Record.
The growth of the prison population continued (+ 3.6% compared to the previous year), with a consequent increase in the crowding index which went, in 2017, from 114.1 prisoners per hundred regulatory capacity to 117.9 in 2018.
The distribution of crimes on the national territory is not homogeneous and it differs considerably according to the type of crime. In 2018, with regard to intentional homicides perpetrated, the South and Islands recorded an almost double incidence, compared to the Centre and North (0.83 and 0.43 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants respectively). With regard to attempted homicides, there was also a higher localization in the South and Islands (2.30), and in particular in Calabria (3.07) and Puglia (2.67), compared to the Centre and North (1.45).
With regard to robberies, Campania emerged, with a negative and consolidated record over the years: even if it was decreasing, Campania had, in fact, an almost double rate (104.3 robberies per 100 thousand inhabitants), compared to the Regions that follow it in the ranking (Lazio, Lombardia and Piemonte, all with values between 57.9 and 51.4).
The territorial incidence of thefts was also notably different, mainly due to the unequal economic attractiveness and a different propensity to report, especially when the stolen assets are of little value and the theft doesn't concern particular objects, such as, for example, vehicles, weapons, documents. The Regions of the Centre and North recorded the highest incidence of thefts, in particular Emilia-Romagna (with 2,621.6 thefts per hundred thousand inhabitants), followed by Lazio, Toscana and Lombardia.
In 2017, considering the Region in which the crime was committed, the rate of persons reported to the judicial authorities, for which the criminal action began, varied from 780.8 per 100 thousand inhabitants in the North-East to 1,320.9 in the South and Islands. Piemonte (567.3), Veneto (587.3), Valle d'Aosta / Vallée d'Aoste (769.7), Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol (771.6) and, in general, the Northern regions, recorded more contained values, with the exception of Liguria (1316.2 per 100 thousand inhabitants), while the highest rates were recorded in Calabria (1,543.7) and Molise (1,537.5). Also, in 2017, the rate of accused persons reported to the Judicial Authority who had charges dismissed varied from 905.3 in the North-East to 1,266 in the South and Islands.
In 2019, the highest proportion of households who perceived the risk of crime was in Campania, where the value was significantly higher than the national figure.
With regard to crowding in prisons, only the Autonomous Province of Trento and the Islands had an index of not more than 100, which represent the optimal theoretical value of use of the structure. The regions with the greatest prison crowding index were Puglia where, on average, three prisoners were housed in the space provided for two, and Molise with just less afflictive conditions (143.3 prisoners per one hundred regulatory capacity).
In 2017, 0.61 voluntary homicides were committed in Italy per one hundred thousand inhabitants, a value that was slightly lower than those recorded by the Czech Republic and Spain (0.62 and 0.66, respectively) among the European Union member countries. The only European country with a more favourable situation, compared to Italy, was Luxembourg, with only two intentional homicides reported to the Police in the year and a corresponding rate of 0.34 homicides per 100 thousand inhabitants. The EU Countries showed gradually higher values, included between that of Luxembourg and that of Estonia (2,20 homicides per 100 thousand inhabitants), with the exception of Lithuania and Latvia (3,97 and 5,59 respectively), historically characterized by high values and distant from the European average.
Italy was one of the EU countries where the incidence of homicides was lower, also focusing on female victims only. In fact, in 2017, the rate of intentional homicides perpetrated against a woman was 0.40 per 100,000 women, almost coinciding with the rates of Malta and Greece. The best situation was in Cyprus, where no woman was killed.
With regard to the detention rate, in 2017 there was a considerable variability among the EU countries. The index had its highest values in Lithuania and the Czech Republic (respectively 231.7 and 209.5 prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants), and the lowest ones (less than 60 prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants) in Finland, Sweden and Denmark. Italy, with 97.4 prisoners per 100 thousand inhabitants, occupied a medium-low position in the European ranking (18th place out of the 28 EU countries). However, when comparing the data, the different possibilities of access to measures, which are alternative to detention in different countries, should also be considered.