one dead and several injured by bullets in Seine-Saint-Denis

A very worrying and increasing figure…: almost 4 murders and attempted murders per day in Belgium!

By Françoise De Halleux
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According to federal police statistics, murders, assassinations and attempts have increased by 17% in our country in three years (between 2019 and 2022). As for “successful” intentional homicides, they increased by 21%!

The federal police have finally completed their crime statistics for the year 2022, which include the figures for all police zones combined. As for the most serious facts, the figures are on the rise and not a little.

In 2022, there will be no less than 1,375 murders, assassinations and attempted murders and assassinations. Which gives 3.7 murders and attempts per day! Figures that send shivers down your spine. Not only in absolute terms but also in terms of their evolution. Since 2012, these 1,375 intentional homicides and attempts constitute a record. Compared to 2019 (year before Covid), they represent an increase of 17%.

If we exclude attempted intentional homicide, the figures are of course lower. We are then at 179 homicides (105 murders and 74 assassinations) for 2022. Which represents an increase of 21% compared to 2019 when there were a total of 147 intentional homicides (95 murders and 52 assassinations).

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We asked the National Institute of Criminalistics and Criminology (INCC) for a comment on these figures, but criminologist Dieter Burssens prefers to analyze over the longer term. “We published this year a major study on crime in Belgium (based on WHO figures), but which looks over several years and until 2018,” he says. “We observe that from the 1960s until around 1999, the number of deaths by violence increased (up to 20 deaths per 1 million inhabitants). Then this number then decreased until 2018 (10 deaths per 1 million inhabitants). Are we seeing an increase in numbers? The question is interesting in view of the figures that you give me for 2022, but it will take more hindsight to confirm it and not just trust the police figures, because they do not tell everything.”

Large cities logically concentrate the most violence. Liège, for example, has a total of 60 murders and attempts in 2022. “These are 60 incidents too many,” reacts 1st divisional commissioner Christian Tesson, acting commander. “But we have to put things into perspective. This figure remains stable over the years (59 events in 2012, 58 in 2019, etc.) while the city is increasingly busy and there are more and more events and parties. The figures remain stable while there is a social phenomenon, of impoverishment, of migration… which, without stigmatizing, generally increases violence. I therefore dare to hope that police action will, despite everything, contain the violence in the city.” Dangerous to walk in Liège? “No more than in another city,” replies Christian Tesson. “The police presence deters the perpetrators from taking action. Seeing a lot of police officers in the Carré on festive evenings is reassuring for visitors.” The 1st divisional commissioner specifies that in Liège, 7 people lost their lives in 2022 following intentional homicide, all men.

On the Charleroi side, where we recorded 48 intentional homicides and attempts in 2022 (compared to 40 in 2019), we mainly point out the problems linked to drugs. “All this violence is linked to drug trafficking, between groups who engage in fierce competition in the street,” says David Quinaux, spokesperson for the local Charleroi police. “Even for a few grams of hashish, we kill! In this area, there is no competition law, everything is done through intimidation and the settling of scores.”

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