HomeNewsBriefAre Firearms Seizures Why Homicides Are Falling in Nicaragua?
BRIEF

Are Firearms Seizures Why Homicides Are Falling in Nicaragua?

NICARAGUA / 5 JUN 2014 BY CAMILO MEJIA EN

Authorities in Nicaragua have identified the seizure of thousands of firearms over the past several years as the main reason for a large drop in the country's homicide rate, but experiences around the region suggest the issue is unlikely to be so simple.

According to Nicaragua's National Police, the seizure of 19,000 illegally owned firearms between 2008 and 2013 has played a critical role in reducing the country's homicide rate from 11 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2012 to 8.7 homicides per 100,000 in 2013, reported El Nuevo Diario.

Nicaragua currently has the lowest homicide rate in Central America, followed by Costa Rica.

Nonetheless, officials from the arms control unit of the police (DAEM) said the majority of violent robberies in the country were not carried out with firearms, but rather, with weapons such as knives or machetes.

The low homicide rate does not mean the country is unaffected by violent crime, said Monica Zalaquett of NGO the Violence Prevention Center (CEPREV).

"There are a lot of robberies [in Nicaragua] using intimidation, in which firearms [...] are generally used and many young people sustain bullet injuries," she said.

InSight Crime Analysis

Compared to its Northern Triangle neighbors Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador -- which have some of the highest homicide rates in the world -- Nicaragua remains relatively unaffected by gangs or organized crime-fueled violence. Last year, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) placed Nicaragua among the six Latin American countries with the best citizen security indicators.

However, it is unlikely arms seizures have been the primary factor in maintaining low levels of violence. As InSight Crime has noted, there is little evidence that strict gun policies are a principal factor affecting murder rates in Latin America -- ease of acquiring black market weapons, security force corruption and a strong organized crime presence all play an important role as well.

There are a number of other factors that have likely contributed to Nicaragua's low -- and falling -- homicide rate. One often cited by authorities is the country's unique community policing model, which has been credited with keeping out mara street gangs. Another possibility could be the tight social control exercised by the Sandinista government in many parts of the country.

SEE ALSO: Nicaragua News and Profiles

These ideas are supported by the fact that the country's two Atlantic autonomous regions (the RAAN and RAAS) have murder rates far above the national average. These are the regions where the central government has the least control, and which have been most affected by the presence of transnational organized crime as both their remoteness and coastal location make them attractive stopover points for drug traffickers.

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

CACHIROS / 28 DEC 2020

A rush of drug plane traffic from South America, coupled with traffickers smuggling large cocaine shipments after coronavirus border restrictions…

MEXICO / 9 JUN 2021

Over 90 percent of active personnel in Mexico’s National Guard remain uncertified two years after the police body’s creation, marking…

COCA / 22 DEC 2020

President-elect Joe Biden wants to reset US-Latin American relations, but the Trump administration’s approach may leave scars.

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…