Those stats don’t show what you think they show. The ESI kills stats include all forms of loss, even when you lose a ship to NPCs.
So, just to look at ganking itself, if 20 gankers kill 1 freighter, that get’s represented as 21 kills in the data drawn from the ESI, even though 20 of those losses were from CONCORD retribution against the criminals. Even if they don’t get their kill, all the gankers would still lose their ship and appear in the data.
If new players die to NPCs, that appears in the figures. If other players die while running missions, that appears in the data, etc.
It’s a total of all loss and with highsec having more characters and more inexperienced players that die in situations that they then learn from, of course the raw numbers are higher. That doesn’t lead to the conclusion you’ve drawn though.
To explain that more, take this breakdown also from Dotlan, from the exact same data source, of losses over the last 3 hours and 24 hours:
The 3rd most violent system in highsec in the last 3 hours is Uitra; and it’s the 4th most violent over the last 24 hours.
Uitra also happens to be a Caldari Career Agent system, one of the protected systems against ganking under the Rookie Griefing rules.
While you’d expect the kill data to be incomplete in zkillboard because most new players won’t even know what zkillboard is and won’t have logged in there, the kills that do show, clearly demonstrate that this is new players dying to NPCs:
If you look at the other systems in the list:
Uitra - Caldari
Jouvulen - Caldari
Couster - Gallente
Akainavas - Caldari
Malukker - Minmitar
50% of the top 10 most violent systems in highsec are consistently, starter systems and career agent systems, where the loss is overwhelmingly due to new players inexperience leading to loss to NPCs.
Of the 1190 (?? exact number now since Pochven) highsec systems, 50% of the top 10 most deadly, are caused by NPC loss.
Outside of a handful of highsec systems, players arguably face less chance of loss (because they mange themselves better) than new players face from NPCs due to lack of skill and experience.