HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Homicides Fell Over 40% in 2012
BRIEF

El Salvador Homicides Fell Over 40% in 2012

BARRIO 18 / 4 JAN 2013 BY EDWARD FOX EN

El Salvador's controversial gang truce has led to a dramatic fall in homicides in one of the world's most dangerous nations, a trend that may well continue if the war between the Maras can be brought to an permanent close.

According to EFE news agency, the National Civil Police (PNC) registered 2,576 murders in 2012. Compared to the 2011 PNC figure of 4,371 homicides, that represents a 41 percent fall.

National Police Sub-Director, Mauricio Ramirez, pointed to the gang truce between Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 as being one of the key factors in bringing down the number of murders. The truce, which has produced a cessation of hostilities between the two gangs, was brokered in March 2012.  During 2012, El Salvador recorded days without a single homicide, something unheard of in a nation with a 2011 murder rate of over 65 per 100,000 of the population. This makes 2012 the first time in 30 years this has happened, Security and Justice Minister, David Munguia Payes, declared.

The majority of homicide victims were aged between 18 and 30 years, while firearms were used in 63 percent of killings, reported La Prensa Grafica.

InSight Crime Analysis

According to La Prensa Grafica, these figures make 2012 the least violent year since 2003 when 2,195 homicides were registered. What's more, the significant fall could help El Salvador rid itself of the label of being the second most violent country in the world after neighboring Honduras. In 2011, it registered a homicide rate of 69.2 per 100,000, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Not accounting for population variation, this could fall to around 40 per 100,000 for 2012, based on PNC statistics.

Recent developments in the gang truce suggest this downward trend could well continue. Truce negotiators Bishop Fabio Colindres and ex-congressman Raul Mijango proposed last November the creation of 10 so-called "peace zones" in the country and to expand the truce to include extortion. The following month, gang leaders accepted this proposal, pledging to end all gang activity in the yet to be designated zones and hand over their weapons.

This is still very much in the early stages, however. President Mauricio Funes' administration has stated that it will help facilitate this initiative though it remains to be seen what kind of role it would take.  The deal may have to involve government concessions in order for the gangs to cease extortion operations. Mijango stated, "in 2013, the involvement of the state will be necessary so that we can consolidate this historic opportunity," reported La Prensa Grafica.

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

HOMICIDES / 15 DEC 2014

In the first two weeks of December, Venezuela's capital city registered over 200 deaths in what is shaping up to…

CARIBBEAN / 2 JAN 2013

At least 290 people were killed by police in the Dominican Republic in 2012, amidst a backdrop of declining…

EL SALVADOR / 25 SEP 2014

Colonel Carlos Alfredo Rivas Najarro is one of the more progressive figures in El Salvador's military, although…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…