HomeNewsBrief80% of Homicides in Honduras Result of Gun Violence: Report
BRIEF

80% of Homicides in Honduras Result of Gun Violence: Report

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 27 JUL 2016 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Firearms are reportedly used in more than 80 percent of all homicides in Honduras, almost double the global average, an epidemic fueled in large part by the ease with which criminals can obtain weapons and ammunition. 

Of the 48,094 murders registered in Honduras between 2008 and 2015, 39,111 were committed using a firearm, according to data from the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) accessed by La Tribuna. At 81.3 percent, the ratio of gun deaths to overall homicides in Honduras is almost twice the worldwide average of approximately 41 percent (pdf), according to the Igarapé Institute . 

Honduras was at one time the most violent peacetime nation in the world and remains among the most homicidal. Murder rates peaked at over 90 per 100,000 residents in the early 2010s before falling to their current levels of around 57 per 100,000.

The northern department of Cortés -- home to San Pedro Sula -- saw the most violence during the recent eight-year stretch, according to the Observatory, registering 31 percent of the murders nationwide. Tegucigalpa's Francisco Morazán and La Ceiba's Atlántida were the second and third most violent departments, accounting for 17 and 8 percent of the total homicides, respectively. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The high rate of gun deaths is closely linked to the large black market for weapons that is supplying Honduras' powerful criminal groups. In 2014, a Honduran congressional commission estimated that over 1 million weapons were in circulation, and that more than 700,000 of those were unlicensed.

Many of the illegal firearms are trafficked from the United States and from neighboring countries such as El Salvador or Guatemala. Still more are sourced from Honduras' own security forces, which do not register their weapons with the state, according to an anonymous source consulted by La Tribuna. This lack of regulation facilitates the movement of weapons from police and military stockpiles into the hands of criminal groups. 

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

Ammunition also appears to be inexpensive and in abundant supply. The head of the Violence Observatory, Migdonia Ayestas, noted with alarm that up to 400 bullet casings have been found at some crime scenes, and that bodies are found riddled with as many as 10 bullet wounds. This shows "that the bullets or projectiles would appear to be so cheap that they don't care about using as many as it takes to demonstrate their lethal power," Ayestas told La Tribuna.

To be sure, gun violence is a serious problem across the region. In Central America, firearms are used in 73 percent of all homicides, according to Igarapé, while in South America that number is 53 percent.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 22 SEP 2022

Corruption and a lack of traceability allow military munitions to flow into the hands of criminals in Paraguay.

ECUADOR / 20 MAY 2021

A string of brazen targeted killings in Ecuador showcases how violence between the country's criminal gangs is continuing to spiral…

EXTORTION / 17 JUN 2022

Buying fresh chicken in the Mexican city of Chilpancingo proved almost impossible this week. Almost all the chicken vendors had…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…