Tallinn has come out second just after Vilnius by number of murders per 100,000 people from 2002 until 2008, according to figures released on Tuesday by the EU’s official statistics agency, Eurostat.

In a report on crime trends over recent years, Lithuania saw an average 8.76 murders per 100,000 heads of population every year during the period 2002-8, Eurostat said, making Lithuania the EU’s murder capital by some margin.

Another Baltic state, Estonia, recorded the second-highest level with 6.6 murders per 100,000 residents. Complete data was not available for Riga, but incomplete figures suggested a similar rate to that of Estonia.

‘The figures suggest that Lithuania and Estonia have by far the highest incidence of homicides. The only other countries reporting more than two cases a year per hundred thousand population were Finland, Bulgaria, Scotland, Romania, the Czech Republic and Ireland,’ Eurostat reported.

The lowest murder rates were observed in Austria, Slovenia and Germany, all of which had less than one homicide per 100,000 of population.

On a more positive note, Lithuania was also amongst the EU states that saw one of the largest drops in levels of violent crime during the same period.

The data involved in the survey included murders, causing fata bodily harm with intent, euthanasia and murdered children.