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. 

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

DISPLACEMENT / 3 MAR 2022

Without the bodies, the exact number of people executed in broad daylight at a funeral in Mexico's western state of…

CYBERCRIME / 20 OCT 2021

A month after El Salvador’s government introduced Bitcoin as a national currency, an illegal corner of the new economy has…

AUC / 31 MAY 2021

Several demobilized members of a notorious right-wing paramilitary group in Colombia passed themselves off as a new self-defense force and…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…