Homicides, it would appear, have become commonplace in Maltese mainstream news, with the high profile murders of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and Hugo Chetcuti still sticking firm in recent memory.
More recently, the shooting of Ivorian Lassana Cisse in what could be a racially-motivated attack and the double murder of two women belonging to a family tragically entwined with death have shocked the nation.
Worryingly, police figures seen by Lovin Malta show that just seven people have been found guilty of homicide in the last 10 years despite there being 70 victims in the same time period.
It should be noted that this does not necessarily mean that a person has not been charged. In fact, as of August 2018, 35 of the murders since the start of 2008 were categorised as ‘solved’, 24 ‘unsolved’ and two as ‘partly solved’.
While police do not give a specific definition to these terms, a case is considered solved once somebody has been charged in court. For example, the murder of Caruana Galizia would be considered ‘solved’, even though it is not yet clear whether anybody commissioned her assassination.
The figures themselves do present two hypotheses
Firstly, statistics do indicate that there have been 28 pending cases since 2008 showing a clear ineffectiveness of the courts, be it through mismanagement or the delaying tactics used by lawyers.
However, the 24 homicides that as of August 2018 remain unsolved, do point to potential issues within the investigative process at identifying the perpetrators.
2012 was the worst year for murders with 12 deaths, followed by nine in 2017, while last year saw six murders. With three murders within the first four months of 2019, this could end up becoming a record year.
The figures do not include the two unborn twins that were being carried by Meryem Bugeja, a Moroccan woman who was murdered in September 2012.
All seven offenders were men, but the figures show that men also account for two-thirds of all victims (48)
This does not mean to say that violence does not affect the female gender, with women forming the overwhelming majority (80%) of victims aged between 18 and 59, despite both genders being relatively even when it came to minors and persons above 60.
However, in an age where gender and identity is at the forefront of global debate, it remains to be seen why the issues surrounding men and violent crime have yet to be significantly addressed beyond the vague and generic term ‘toxic masculinity’.
Statistics with regards to grievous bodily harm also make for a concerned reading, with men accounting for 81% of all victims (380 women – 1695 male).