HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Police Dispute Government’s Gang Murder Stats
BRIEF

El Salvador Police Dispute Government’s Gang Murder Stats

EL SALVADOR / 16 JUL 2015 BY ARRON DAUGHERTY EN

There is confusion over how many of El Salvador’s murder victims are gang members, showing that an increased understanding of the gang problem is necessary to successful address the country’s worsening security situation. 

A report recently given by El Salvador’s National Police (PNC by its Spanish initials) to local newspaper El Faro said of the more than 2,000 homicide victims registered in El Salvador between January and May, only 30% were gang members. 

This contradicts multiple officials from President Salvador Sanchez Ceren’s administration, who claimed 60% of El Salvador murder victims belonged to, or were affiliated with, street gangs.

“Approximately 60% of homicides are the result of gang disputes within the country,” El Salvador security minister Benito Lara said when speaking to press in June about public security issues. At a following press conference communications secretary Eugenio Chica elaborated “the majority of those killed are linked to gangs and criminals, while 40% are regular citizens.”

The PNC did not indicate why their figures on murdered gang members were lower than those cited by central government figures. However it did say that it could revise murder statistics as each case developed. Future revisions are unlikely, El Faro said, as the vast majority of El Salvador’s murder cases go unsolved.

InSight Crime Analysis

The conflict between the PNC and the central government’s murder victim figures echo previous findings by local newspaper La Prensa Grafica. The newspaper determined that authorities often over report the number of gang-affiliated homicide victims, largely due to poor investigation techniques and a lack of understanding as to what constitutes a gang member

Part of this has to do with the difficulty in deciding whether to only count fully initiated gang members as part of the group, or to include the large networks of collaborators and affiliates that Mara gangs rely on. 

SEE ALSO: El Salvador News and Profiles

Scant resources and the desire to write off El Salvador’s ever rising murder rates as criminals killing other criminals may discourage authorities from further investigating how gangs interact with the surrounding community. However understanding how the non-initiated work with gangs -willingly or under coercion- is crucial to protecting citizens and improving El Salvador’s dire public security situation. 

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

CONTRABAND / 25 AUG 2014

Cattle-running groups have reportedly illegally transported 22,000 heads of cattle from eastern Nicaragua to Honduras in three months, highlighting the…

FEATURED / 11 JUN 2020

Media headlines and US indictments have confidently proclaimed the Jalisco Cartel to be  Mexico's dominant criminal group. But while it…

MEXICO / 25 MAY 2015

Despite the heavy use of soldiers to support public security, a recent study has ranked Mexico third worldwide in terms…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…