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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1678-4464Print version ISSN 0102-311X


CARDONA, Marleny et al. Homicides in Medellín, Colombia, from 1990 to 2002: victims, motives and circumstances. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2005, vol.21, n.3, pp.840-851. ISSN 1678-4464.

In Medellín, Colombia, homicide has been the first cause of morbidity and mortality for 20 years. Medellín has the highest homicide rates of all major cities in Latin America. This study describes the victims, motives, and circumstances in homicides in Medellín from 1990 to 2002. The period included 55,365 homicides, of which 1,394 were randomly studied. Of this sample, 93.6% (95%CI: 92.2%-94.8%) were males, 77.0% (95%CI: 75.0%-79.5%) less than 35 years of age, one-fourth had consumed alcohol, and nine out of ten were killed with firearms. The main motives were revenge and armed robbery. 37.0% (95%CI: 34.0%-41.0%) of the victims lived in the lowest socioeconomic stratum of the city. Characteristics of homicides in Medellín have remained unchanged since the 1980s, when the most violent period in the city's history began. The most heavily affected groups are young males who live and die in poor neighborhoods, and the murders are individual acts that leave no wounded behind.

Keywords : Violence; Homicide; Socioeconomic Factors.

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