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

CARIBBEAN / 31 MAY 2022

Top authorities in Trinidad and Tobago have warned legislators that the Caribbean island nation is likely to see a rise…

ELITES AND CRIME / 20 MAY 2022

Political assassinations, record drug seizures, gang wars – an avalanche of criminal concerns in Paraguay are coalescing around the city…

ARGENTINA / 24 MAY 2021

Young men make up a quarter of homicide victims in Rosario, according to a new report, driving home the fact…

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…