HomeNewsBriefHonduras Disputes Homicide Stats as Elections Near
BRIEF

Honduras Disputes Homicide Stats as Elections Near

HOMICIDES / 30 SEP 2013 BY NATALIE SOUTHWICK EN

A debate over official homicide statistics in Honduras raise questions about whether the government is politicizing murder rates in the run-up to presidential elections.

The country’s Security Ministry has reported 2,629 homicides for the first half of 2013, a much lower total than the 3,547 homicides counted during the same period by the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH).

Security Minister Arturo Corrales claimed the discrepancy is due to a difference in methodology, reported El Heraldo. According to Corrales, the government only registers homicides documented by the Attorney General’s Office — a method that excludes disappearances, unidentified bodies or lack of an official government report.

The Observatory, on the other hand, tracks all police reports of violent deaths, as well as forensics and Attorney General’s Office reports of deaths. It then has a regular meeting in which it determines which murders it includes and which it weeds out because of discrepancies, and from there determines the total.

InSight Crime Analysis

The discrepancy goes to the heart of a problem with statistics: they often reflect the needs of the administration in power rather than the reality on the ground. The irony is that government anointed the Observatory the task of collating the data for exactly this reason, but it appears that politics may soon smother it. 

Presidential elections are November 24, and the ruling National Party’s candidate, Juan Orlando Hernandez, is in a tight race with Libre party candidate Xiomara Castro de Zelaya.

The Security Ministry’s lower statistics would represent an 18 percent drop in homicides, a highly improbable scenario in the world’s most violent country, where 2012 was the deadliest year on record and killings had risen year-on-year since 2004.

The ministry may be reaching unnecessarily. According to Observatory data, the current rate for 2013 is 80 per 100,000 people, representing a more than six percent decrease from last year. The Observatory had previously predicted a 6 percent drop in the homicide rate for 2013, due mostly to population growth. 

With the inauguration of a new military police force following the recent deployment of the military in the country’s major cities, it is also in the interests of the government to present more positive statistics to support its continued pursuit of militarized law enforcement.

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

HONDURAS / 26 SEP 2016

An internal investigation alleges that 81 police officers in Honduras, including high-ranking officials, have been working for an MS13 gang…

ARGENTINA / 27 MAY 2019

The arrest of the federal police chief in Argentina's strategically located province of Santa Fe on drug trafficking charges has…

HOMICIDES / 13 AUG 2014

Officials say homicides in Honduras have dropped over 15 percent in 2014 compared to the same period the previous year,…

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…