HomeNewsBriefMurders Down but Massacres On the Rise in Honduras
BRIEF

Murders Down but Massacres On the Rise in Honduras

HOMICIDES / 2 DEC 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Honduras has experienced more massacres so far in 2015 than in all of last year, suggesting violence related to organized crime remains rampant despite a significant drop in the country's murder rate. 

The Violence Observatory at Honduras’ National Autonomous University (UNAH) has registered 95 massacres in 2015, resulting in 352 deaths, according to the AFP. A massacre is defined as any homicide case in which three or more victims were killed.

Migdonia Ayestas, director of the Violence Observatory, told AFP that the rise in massacres is due to confrontations between street gangs and drug trafficking groups, inter-gang battles for control of extortion revenues, personal clashes and land disputes. 

The increasing number of massacres runs contrary to an overall decrease in homicides. Honduras' national homicide rate fell from over 90 per 100,000 residents in 2011 -- the highest in the world at the time -- to 66 per 100,000 in 2014. Ayestas projects that the country's homicide rate will continue to drop in 2015, to 62 per 100,000 by the end of the year.  

InSight Crime Analysis

The simultaneous rise in massacres and drop in homicides suggests organized crime is responsible for an increasing portion of the murders being committed in Honduras. As Ayestas noted, multiple homicide cases are closely associated with drug trafficking and gang related violence. To highlight just one example, authorities say a recent massacre that left seven people dead was the result of gangs fighting over drug sales in Honduras' Central District. 

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

Shifts in Honduras' criminal dynamics support this hypothesis. The underworld is in turmoil, due to the dismantling of several powerful narco-clans that had controlled large swaths of drug trafficking routes in Honduras. This power vacuum may be causing an increase in drug violence as new criminal groups try to wrest control from what remains of the older organizations. Spasms of violence resulting from underworld upheaval have previously been seen in various other parts of Latin America, such as Guatemala and Mexico. 

Nevertheless, obtaining reliable and accurate crime statistics from Honduras is a near impossible task, and without more concrete data it is difficult to draw too many conclusions as to why the country's homicide patterns are changing. This is compounded by Honduras' incredibly low conviction rate for homicides, which means the circumstances under which most murders occur remain shrouded in mystery.  

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

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 23 AUG 2017

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras.

CONTRABAND / 5 SEP 2014

A UN report puts Guatemala among the top five most violent countries in the world, with 40.6 murders for every…

COLOMBIA / 27 JAN 2016

Venezuela's capital city of Caracas has reportedly overtaken Honduras' San Pedro Sula to become the most violent city in the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…