HomeNewsBriefGuatemala's Homicides: a Visual Comparison
BRIEF

Guatemala's Homicides: a Visual Comparison

COLOMBIA / 13 JAN 2016 BY JAMES BOSWORTH EN

On January 10, Guatemalan political scientist Carlos Mendoza tweeted a series of graphs comparing Guatemala's steadily declining homicide rates with other Latin American countries. As analyst James Bosworth observed, the resulting visuals highlight pockets of improvement across the region, as well as areas of crisis. 

It's easy to get caught up in bad news about homicide rates in this hemisphere. Certainly, El Salvador and Venezuela saw horrific increases in 2015. Yet, there is some good news, as the graphic below shows (Graphics from Carlos Mendoza, who put together several graphs comparing Guatemala to other countries in the hemisphere). Both Guatemala and Colombia have seen sustained decreases in homicide rates. Guatemala peaked in the mid-40's per 100,000 in 2006-2009 and Colombia peaked at 70 per 100,000 in 2002.

16-01-12-HomicideRatesGTandCO

There are a lot of lessons you could take from these countries (and we're all at risk of confirmation bias, explaining these success stories post-hoc justifying the policies we support), but let me provide the most important point from that graph: There is hope. High homicide rates can be decreased sustainably. These aren't temporary gains as occurred with the El Salvador gang truce that briefly halved the number of murders before causing them to spike again. While there are reasons to be concerned about potential temporary new spikes in crime in both countries, the consistent improvements in recent years show that progress can be made and sustained over many years.

SEE ALSO:  Guatemala News and Profiles

I'll add that I'm optimistic that both countries have an opportunity to consolidate these gains in the near future. Thanks to recent successes and the CICIG, Guatemala's stronger institutions are better positioned in the coming years to prosecute the corruption and organized crime that have long plagued the country. Colombia has an opportunity with the FARC peace process and subsequent Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) effort to finally end one of the key drivers of the violence in that country.

All graphs below by Carlos Mendoza. Follow him at @camendoza72 or read more of his analysis on Guatemala's homicide rates on his personal blog or his column at investigative news website Plaza Publica.

Guatemala Homicide Rate vs. Mexico's, 2000-2015

16-01-18-Guatemala-homicidesmexico

Guatemala Homicide Rate vs. Honduras', 2000-2014

16-01-12-Guatemala-hondurashomicides

Guatemala Homicide Rate vs. El Salvador, 2000-2014

16-01-12-Guatemala-elsalvadorhomicides

Guatemala Homicide Rate vs. Venezuela, 2000-2015

16-01-12-Guatemala-venezuelahomicides

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

GUATEMALA / 8 DEC 2021

A transnational labor trafficking network brought dozens of individuals from Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico to the United States under the…

COLOMBIA / 25 JUL 2022

The Urabeños, and some smaller Colombian gangs, have sent a letter to president-elect Gustavo Petro to seek peace.

COLOMBIA / 19 APR 2021

Colombia has downgraded the threat level of one of the country's oldest criminal groups, which means fewer resources and troops…

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…