Homicide rates and car theft have decreased in practically all regions since the early 2000s, with the main exceptions being regions in Chile, the United States and Mexico.

Safety contributes to the attractiveness of regions and is often connected with other well-being outcomes such as education, health and jobs. Consequently, policies aiming to ensure safe environments for residents often build on the complementarities with those other dimensions.

Homicide rates have, on average, decreased within the OECD from almost three homicides per 100 000 inhabitants in 2000-02 to around two in 2014-16. However, in 20% of OECD regions, the homicides rates increased by more than 10% during this period, including regions in Canada, Chile, Italy, Mexico and the United States. Capital regions followed the overall downtrend, except for Santiago (Chile) and Mexico City (Federal District, Mexico). Mexico has the highest regional variation in homicides among OECD countries. In 2013-16, the state of Colima (Mexico) recorded more than 62 homicides per 100 000 inhabitants, while in Yucatan (Mexico) there were less than 3 homicides per 100 000 inhabitants (Figure 2.14). Large regional differences in homicides rates are also observed in the United States, Chile and Canada, the regional difference being around 12 homicides per 100 000 inhabitants, due to high rates in the District of Columbia, Aysén and Yukon, respectively, compared to the rest of the country. Among the safest countries are Austria (0.5), Norway, Iceland and Switzerland (all 0.6), where differences between top and bottom regions are on average also relatively low (Figure 2.14).

2.14. Regional variation in homicides per 100 000 inhabitants
Three-year average (2014-16), large regions (TL2)



Homicide is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought, more explicitly intentional murder. Reported homicides are the number of homicides reported to the police. The homicide rate is the number of reported homicides per 100 000 inhabitants.

Motor vehicle theft is defined as the theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle. A motor vehicle is a self-propelled vehicle that runs on land surfaces and not on rails. The motor vehicle theft rate is the number of reported thefts per 100 000 inhabitants.

Theft of private property also has a negative effect on people’s well-being. Over the most recent period (2008-10 to 2014-16), the number of car thefts has decreased in OECD countries by 30% and regional disparities decreased also by the same percentage. Chile and Greece are exceptions, as car thefts increased by 40% and 2%, respectively. In Chile, the situation has mainly been exacerbated by the region where the number of thefts was lowest, whereas in Greece the increase mainly occurred in the capital region with already has a high number of car thefts (Attica, with 422 vehicles per 100 000 inhabitants). In 2014-16, the OECD countries showing at the same time high values and large regional disparities for car thefts were Germany, Slovak Republic, Chile and Mexico (Figure 2.15). In Berlin (Germany), Bratislava Region (Slovak Republic) and Prague (Czech Republic), the rate of car theft was more than two and a half times higher than the national average. Among the non-OECD countries, in the region Madre de Dios (Peru) the rate of car theft was almost nine times that of the country as a whole, and in Sakhalin Oblast (Russian Federation) more than three times higher than the Russian average (Figure 2.15).

2.15. Regional range in reported car thefts per 100 000 inhabitants
Three years average 2013-16, Large regions (TL2)



OECD (2018), OECD Regional Statistics (database),

See Annex B for data sources and country-related metadata.

Reference years and territorial level

2014-2016; TL2. TL3 for Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.

Homicides: Three-year average. No recent regional data for Netherlands

Car thefts: Three-year average. No regional data are available for Iceland, Korea, Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom.

Further information

OECD (2015), Measuring Well-being in Mexican States, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2014), How’s Life in Your Region? Measuring Regional and Local Well-being for Policy Making, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD Regional Well-Being:

Figure notes

2.14: Three years average 2014-16;Israel, Japan, Lithuania and Latvia, 2013-15; New Zealand, Peru, Russian Federation and Sweden, 2012-14; Turkey 2011-13; Slovenia 2010-12.

2.15: Three years average 2014-16; Estonia, Japan and Mexico, 2013-15; Latvia, New Zealand, Peru, Russian Federation and Sweden, 2012-14; Italy and Turkey, 2011-13; Slovenia, 2010-12.

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