HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Murder Rate Highest Since End of Civil War
BRIEF

El Salvador Murder Rate Highest Since End of Civil War

EL SALVADOR / 3 JAN 2012 BY JEREMY MCDERMOTT EN

El Salvador registered more than 4300 murders in 2011, making it the bloodiest year since the end of the civil war in 1992, the result of street gang violence and drug trafficking.

El Faro reported the National Police homicides for last year, which reached 4308 by mid December, overtaking 2010, which saw 4223. This brings the murder rate up to 65 per 100,000 of the population, one of the highest in the world, but still well below neighboring Honduras which registered a rate of over 80 per 100,000.

Howard Cotto, the Police Subdirector of Investigations, blamed much of the murder rate on the expanding internal distribution of drugs, “narcomenudeo.” The transnational criminal syndicates that move cocaine northwards through El Salvador often pay their local partners in product rather than cash, feeding the domestic drug market, which in turn feeds local violence.

The National Police report also highlighted the rate of captures during 2011, which saw an average of 152 people arrested every day for the seemingly impressive figure of 52,000 arrests over the entire year.  What was not made clear was how many of these arrests ended in convictions, but it is unlikely to exceed a tithe of the total.

InSight Crime Analysis
El Salvador continues to be plagued by violence generated by street gangs, the most powerful and organized among them being Mara Salvatrucha 13 and Barrio 18, which are engaged in a never ending war for turf and credibility. This is unlikely to change any time soon, but the real fear is that these gangs, working with transnational drug smuggling groups, will make the leap into serious organized crime and present an even greater threat to national security.

There have already been indications of Mexican cartels operating in El Salvador, principally that of Sinaloa and the Zetas.  These groups already use local criminal organizations like the Perrones and the Texis Cartel to transport drug shipments, but the real fear for the future is that the fragmented mara "clicas" or cells will be united under strong leadership and present a cohesive and national organization, perhaps allied with Mexican or Colombian transnational criminal groups.

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

COCAINE / 12 JAN 2022

El Salvador’s Navy has seized record amounts of cocaine recently, indicating a possible resurgence of maritime trafficking off the country’s…

BARRIO 18 / 18 JAN 2021

The recent decision by the US government to charge MS13’s top leaders in El Salvador with terrorism is either a…

BARRIO 18 / 2 OCT 2020

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has vehemently denied swapping favors with gangs, but a slew of government officials and a…

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…