HomeNewsBriefWhat Is Behind Reported Homicide Drops in Honduras, Guatemala?
BRIEF

What Is Behind Reported Homicide Drops in Honduras, Guatemala?

GUATEMALA / 16 JUL 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Authorities in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras and Guatemala have announced drops in their homicide rates of over 20 and 10 points, respectively. What has been responsible for these reported reductions in violence, and are they sustainable?

According to Honduran Security Minister Arturo Corrales, homicides dropped from 84 per 100,000 residents in 2012 -- a rate the United Nations pegged at an even higher 90.4 per 100,000 -- to 60 per 100,000 by June 2014, reported La Tribuna. Numbers from Honduran violence reduction force Fusina show 2,634 murders between January and mid-June this year, compared to 3,245 in the same period last year, reported La Prensa.

A geographical breakdown of homicides by the Security Ministry found 75 percent of murders were concentrated in just 30 Honduran municipalities (see InSight Crime map below), reported El Heraldo. Authorities plan to install Citizen Security Observatories to analyze homicide reduction strategies in these cities.

Meanwhile, the president of neighboring Guatemala, Otto Perez Molina, announced the country has seen an approximately 10 point reduction in its murder rate since he took office in 2012, when the murder rate was around 40 per 100,000,. According to EFE, 2,343 murders occurred between January and May this year, compared to 2,612 in the same period in 2013. 

ViolentMunicipalities111111-01

InSight Crime Analysis

Guatemala and Honduras, together with El Salvador, form Central America's so-called "Northern Triangle," a region plagued by drug and gang violence. Honduras has seen especially high rates of violence, with already rising homicides shooting up after a 2009 coup that plunged the country into political and social turmoil, making room for organized crime to flourish. 

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

While the apparent drops in homicides are promising signs, there are often discrepancies between official and independent murder counts. Murder reductions are good publicity, and the heads of state are thus likely to highlight the most favorable statistics available.

Regardless of the extent to which murders have actually dropped, questions remain as to whether or not the security policies of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez and his Guatemalan counterpart have been responsible for the decreases. A February article from Plaza Publica noted that homicides began falling in Guatemala three years before Perez Molina took office, and that subsequent drops could have as much to do with population growth as crime reduction strategies. 

There is also the issue of sustainability. Since entering office in late January, Hernandez has undertaken a hard-line campaign to battle violent crime, placing members of the new military police (PMOP) on the streets of national capital Tegucigalpa and violence capital San Pedro Sula and cutting cell phone signals in prisons to target extortion. Nonetheless, his detractors have criticized his so-called "iron fist" policies as short-sighted -- failing to address underlying institutional weakness and corruption -- and potentially damaging in the long-run.   

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 / 4 NOV 2020

Authorities in Honduras have destroyed more than 100 acres of coca crops this year, showing that criminal groups continue to…

HONDURAS / 20 APR 2022

Juan Orlando Hernández, Honduras’ former president, is facing trial on US drug charges after allegations that he received bribes to…

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 14 MAY 2021

Both banks of the salty canal near the town of Kaukira show e vestiges of the boom-bust nature of life…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…