HomeNewsBriefJune Replaces May as Most Violent Month in El Salvador Since War
BRIEF

June Replaces May as Most Violent Month in El Salvador Since War

BARRIO 18 / 6 JUL 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

El Salvador has once again registered the highest number of homicides since the end of the country's civil war, raising doubts about the government's short-term security strategy.

The Director of El Salvador's Institute of Forensic Medicine (Instituto de Medicina Legal - IML), Miguel Fortin Magana, announced there were 677 homicides during the month of June, reported the Associated Press. The homicides in June slightly exceeded the 641 murders IML registered in May, which had previously been the most violent month since the end of El Salvador's civil war in 1992. 

The first half of 2015 has produced 2,965 homicides in El Salvador, a 61 percent increase from the 1,840 murders recorded from January to June of 2014. Due to the increasing levels of violence, beginning next week the IML will be conducting autopsies 24 hours a day, according to El Salvador.com.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Salvador Sanchez Ceren administration has advocated a hardline policy towards the country's gangs, and has repeatedly refused to entertain a revival of a truce between the two main factions, the Barrio 18 and the MS13. The truce significantly lowered homicides after it was signed in 2012, but began to break down in mid-2013 and was criticized for giving the gangs more political and social standing.

However, the government has also proposed the first ever gang rehabilitation law, and in January released an ambitious plan to reduce violence that focused on crime prevention efforts. 

The two-pronged approach that combines Mano Dura ("Iron Fist") with so-called "soft" security strategies has yet to yield any significant results in the short term; the first year of the Sanchez Ceren presidency was reportedly El Salvador's most violent 12-month stretch since the country's civil war.

Seemingly ignoring results on the ground, a top member of Sanchez Ceren's security cabinet said last month that there would be no changes to the government's security policies, since the country is "headed in the right direction."

SEE ALSO: El Salvador News and Profiles

In order to determine which security policies are working and which are not, Salvadoran authorities must first clarify who is responsible for the killings. Government officials have blamed gang-on-gang violence for increased murder rates, but there are reasons to believe authorities are overstating the role this dynamic plays as part of the country's overall violence levels.

In fact, it was Sanchez Ceren himself who recently said security forced engaged in shootouts with alleged gang members are responsible for a significant percentage of El Salvador's homicides. A third layer of violence might also be vigilante in nature.

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 / 5 NOV 2021

US prosecutors have charged an alleged MS13 leader in Honduras and another man thought to be one of his main…

EL SALVADOR / 1 JUL 2021

Multiple sources from the United States and El Salvador say the recent decision to temporarily halt the extradition of several…

BOLIVIA / 23 SEP 2022

As world leaders met for the United Nations General Assembly, Latin American presidents expressed various concerns about organized crime.

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…