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CRIME

Italy’s murder rate hits 40-year low

Italy’s murder rate hit a 40-year low last year with 526 homicides recorded in 2012, a report released on Thursday has found.

Italy's murder rate hits 40-year low
Photo: Swift Benjamin/Flickr

The Murder in Italy 2013 report by news agency ANSA and EURES, an economic social and research organization, said that the numbers were continuing to decline this year with 226 murders recorded in the first half of 2013.

The centre of Italy saw the greatest reduction with 13.1 percent fewer murders, while the north experienced a 7.9 percent decrease and the south saw a slight rise of 0.4 percent.

Overall, the south accounted for 53 percent of all murders in Italy last year, with the region of Campania seeing the most violence with 90 homicides.

The number of murders within families dropped by more than 10 percent from 2011.

Italy compares well to other EU countries, the report said, with one murder for every 100,000 inhabitants compared to the average of 1.9.

Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world; in 2011 the UN recorded 91.6 homicides per 100,000.

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CRIME

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

Prosecutors in New York on Tuesday returned dozens of antiquities stolen from Italy and valued at around $19 million, some of which were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

“These 58 pieces represent thousands of years of rich history, yet traffickers throughout Italy utilized looters to steal these items and to line their own pockets,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, noting that it was the third such repatriation in nine months.

“For far too long, they have sat in museums, homes, and galleries that had no rightful claim to their ownership,” he said at a ceremony attended by Italian diplomats and law enforcement officials.

The stolen items had been sold to Michael Steinhardt, one of the world’s leading collectors of ancient art, the DA’s office said, adding that he had been slapped with a “first-of-its-kind lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities.”

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Among the recovered treasures, which in some cases were sold to “unwitting collectors and museums,” were a marble head of the Greek goddess Athena from 200 B.C.E. and a drinking cup dating back to 470 B.C.E, officials said.

The pieces were stolen at the behest of four men who “all led highly lucrative criminal enterprises – often in competition with one another – where they would use local looters to raid archaeological sites throughout Italy, many of which were insufficiently guarded,” the DA’s office said.

One of them, Pasquale Camera, was “a regional crime boss who organized thefts from museums and churches as early as the 1960s. He then began purchasing stolen artifacts from local looters and sold them to antiquities dealers,” it added.

It said that this year alone, the DA’s office has “returned nearly 300 antiquities valued at over $66 million to 12 countries.”

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