HomeNewsBriefHas Guatemala Turned a Corner With Fall in Homicides?
BRIEF

Has Guatemala Turned a Corner With Fall in Homicides?

GUATEMALA / 5 JAN 2012 BY JEREMY MCDERMOTT EN

The Guatemalan government announced that the murder rate has fallen under outgoing president Alvaro Colom, moving against the current of public opinion which believes that the security situation has actually worsened under his administration.

The Interior Minister, Carlos Menocal, stated that the homicide rate had fallen from 46 per 100,000 of the population in 2008 to 38.61 in 2011. He said that the strengthening of state institutions, the purging of corrupt elements from the police force and professionalization of investigations and intelligence operations have “borne important fruit,” reflected in the fall in the murder rate.

The murder rate in this nation of 14.7 million still runs at 16 per day. The regional average, which is 33 homicides per 100,000, is the highest in the world. However there is clear evidence that some of the violence has migrated to neighboring Honduras which currently registers a homicide rate over 80 per 100,000 of the population.

InSight Crime Analysis

The statistics firstly need to be confirmed by independent study, but even if they do prove to be accurate, this cannot be seen as an indication that Guatemala has turned a corner in its fight against crime. While the drop is significant, Guatemala remains one of the more dangerous nations on earth and is still a key transit nation for cocaine heading from the Andes to the US, something that is unlikely to change in the near future. There are also indications that Guatemala is becoming a production nation for drugs

While one hopes that an improvement in Guatemalan law enforcement has taken place and had an effect, there could be other explanations for a fall in murders. One could be that there has been a consolidation of national and international criminal syndicates in certain parts the country. Fighting between rival gangs is one of the primary generators of violence in Central America and there are indications that for example the Mexican Zetas have consolidated their hold on parts of northern Guatemala, and now exercise a criminal hegemony there.

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 / 24 NOV 2021

An unusually drawn-out feud between two rival gangs in northern Costa Rica has left over 150 people dead in five…

EL SALVADOR / 30 DEC 2021

The United States, under the Biden administration, was supposed to help curb corruption, but for corrupt officials in Central America,…

HOMICIDES / 23 SEP 2021

A package bomb that killed a restaurateur and his manager underscores the escalating use of explosives – and the terror…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…