HomeNewsBriefPolice Report Highlights How Nicaragua's Violence Differs from CentAm
BRIEF

Police Report Highlights How Nicaragua's Violence Differs from CentAm

HOMICIDES / 10 MAY 2012 BY CHRISTOPHER LOOFT EN

According to an annual report by Nicaragua's National Police, capital Managua is the country's most dangerous city, while the remote southern Atlantic is its most dangerous region, raising questions over why some of Nicaragua's security dynamics are so different from its neighbors.

National Police Commissioner Aminta Granera said Tuesday that Managua is responsible for 25 percent of the country's violent deaths, La Prensa reported. Last year, the report recorded 738 violent deaths for Nicaragua.

According to Granera, the most violent region is the remote Autonomous Region of the Southern Atlantic, or RAAS (see picture), with a rate of 42.7 homicides per 100,000 people in 2011, comparable to Nicaragua's national rate of 12 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. Neighboring Guatemala has a rate of 43 homicides per 100,000.

The police chief said several other departments have murder rates on par with those seen in Europe, including Cazo, Leon, and Madriz, which saw rates of 2.2, 4.3, and 3.3, respectively.

InSight Crime Analysis

Violent crime throughout most of Nicaragua is low, setting it apart from its Northern Triangle neighbors. But the RAAS remains a hotspot for criminal activity, driving up the national homicide rate with murder rates that rival more troubled nations like Guatemala and Honduras.

One reason for the violence could be the tendency of local drug traffickers to steal cocaine shipments from larger drug cartels. Such thefts and double-crossing could be motivating revenge killings, amid an atmosphere of low police presence and rural poverty. According to Confidencial, a recent study by the think tank Institute of Strategic Studies and Public Policy (IEEPP) found evidence of squads of hitmen working in the region to settle debts for drug traffickers, linked so far to 33 homicides.

Still, despite the troubles in the RAAS, Nicaragua is in a far better security situation than some of its neighbors, with a homicide rate that, at 12 per 100,000, is just a fraction of that seen in other Central American countries. None of the Northern Triangle countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) have homicide rates lower than 40 per 100,000. This rash of violence may have spared Nicaragua thanks to its civic-minded policing model, in which officers cooperate with community organizations, a lingering effect of its socialist revolution.

For all its advantages, Nicaragua still faces public security challenges. Some criminal groups are reportedly beginning to see the country's north as a valuable hideout. If this trend continues, it may lead to new patterns of violence in Nicaragua, if the RAAS is unseated as the center of violent crime.

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

BARRIO 18 / 28 MAR 2022

A killing spree unlike anything seen since El Salvador’s civil war has delivered a macabre message from the country’s street…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 21 SEP 2022

Trinidad and Tobago's homicide rate has past 400 for the year and authorities appear unable to stop it.

HOMICIDES / 19 OCT 2022

Mothers searching for their missing loved ones in Mexico have been murdered, threatened, and ignored, despite government pledges to protect…

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…