Homicides in Norway, year 2000-2004.
Materials and methods:
In this retrospective study, all homicides in the eastern and southern part of Norway have been investigated.In all those cases, the victims were autopsied at Rettsmedisinsk institutt (RM) in Oslo, which covers around 55 % of the Norwegian population. The study is based on autopsy reports from RM and police records.
The results in this study were compared to the results of two similar studies done for the periods 1960-1964 and 1979-1983.
The following data were registered connected to each homicide:- gender and age of the victim- method of homicide- type of knives that had been used- type of shooting-weapon that had been used- the motive for each homicide- gender and age of the perpetrator- the ethnical background of the perpetrator- presence or absence of alcohol among the victims and the perpetrators- presence or absence of drugs in the perpetrators blood or urine- the eventually finding of a mix of both alcohol and drugs in the perpetrators blood or urine- if the perpetrator had been or was treated for any psychiatric diseases
Data concerning the general population were collected from the Norwegian national bureau of statistics.
There was a hypothesis of more homicides committed by shooting-weapon and knives, and that the perpetrator more often was a stranger to the victim.
The statistical tests are done by using the kjii-square test
Results and discussion:
There were 127 homicides in this Norwegian region in the time period 2000-2004, and there were 130 perpetrators in those cases.
The victims:The median age of the victim was 34 years, and was significantly lower than for those other two studies, p<0,01, where the median age was 40 years in the study from the sixties and 39 for the study based on homicides committed in the period from 1979-1983.
The method of homicide and weapon used:The hypothesis of more knife- and shooting homicides was not confirmed in this study.There was found a significant increase in the number of homicides committees by battle-knives, p<0, 01, and a significant decrease in the number of homicides committed by shotguns, p<0, 05. There was a significant increase in the number of homicides committed by pistols that is when comparing to both the other studies.
The motives:There has been a significant increase in the number of homicides based on family row and on the wish to kill, p<0,025, compared to the study 1979-1983.Also the homicides based on drug-fights and gang-fights showed an increased tendency for the period 2000-2004 compared to the two older studies. The homicide based on fights where alcohol is involved is still the most frequent motive.
The perpetrators:There were 91, 5 % male perpetrators in the study for year 2000-2004.The median age of the perpetrator was 31 years, and the spread was from 17 to 90 years.There has been an increase of 100 % in the number of female perpetrators since the sixties.There were no cases where both the victim and the perpetrator were females. The rate of homicides for Norwegian habitants with other ethnical background than from the other Nordic countries, the former Republic of Yugoslavia, the Middle-East, the Northern part of Africa, Pakistan and Vietnam, is 0,7 pr. 100.000 habitants.The homicide rate for the ethnical group from the other Nordic countries was 0,4 for those from ex-Yugoslavia it was 5,4, and the rate of homicide for the habitants from ethnical regions mentioned outside Europe it was 7,5 pr. 100.000 habitants.These rates for the period 2000-2004 are significantly higher than those for the other periods, p<0,001
In 51, 5 % of the homicide-cases, the perpetrator knew the victim, but was not a relative.This is also a significant increase compared to the study from 1979-1983, p<0,025.Approximately 20 % of the perpetrators in that group were previous spouses or cohabitants of the victim.
There were no increase in the number of homicides where the perpetrator is a total stranger to the victim, and the null-hypotheses were not confirmed.
Alcohol and drugs:Alcohol is still the most frequent stimuli involved in homicides. If the perpetrator has taken other stimulating drugs than alcohol, most often there is more than one other drug present. There are several factors that may complicate the findings of alcohol and drugs in the perpetrators blood or urine, but the time when the test is taken is critical. The alcohol concentration disappears quit quickly out of the blood and urine; other drugs are possible to measure for a longer period of time.
Psychiatry:More than 30 % of the perpetrators was or had been treated for some kind of psychiatric diseases. There were several homicide-cases that made a discussion in Norway of the responsibility of the psychiatric system, included the quality of the treatment for the so-called mixed diagnoses (drugs and psychiatry).