Structural Covariates of Homicide Rates: A European City Cross-National Comparative Analysis

Patricia L. McCall, Paul Nieuwbeerta

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Most previous empirical comparative studies of homicide examine homicide rates across nations or subnational units within a single country. This study is the first in which a European cross-national city comparison is made. The article aims to provide insight into the extent that the homicide rates are related to the social and economic forces characterizing a sample of European cities. Derived from theories rooted in classic works, including social disorganization, strain, and urbanism, are six hypothesized effects of structural forces on homicide rates. Analyses show that cities’ deprivation and population structure indexes are strong predictors of homicide rates. The predicted effects of unemployment rates, population heterogeneity, and age structure on homicide rates, however, were not consistently corroborated by these results. Comparing Eastern and Western European countries, the authors also find support for the influence of the country’s level of development on city-level homicide rates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167
Number of pages1
JournalHomicide Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • homicide rates
  • cross-national studies
  • European homicides
  • city homicides

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