2012 was a record year for homicides in Honduras

Bucking the downward trend seen in other Northern Triangle nations, Honduras registered an increase in homicides for 2012, an ominous sign that violence in the world's most dangerous country will not abate any time soon.

According to a new report by the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH), Honduras saw 7,172 murders last year, an increase of 68 killings on 2011's figure. This makes 2012 Honduras' most violent year on record, reported La Prensa.

Though the total number of homicides increased, the rate per 100,000 actually fell from 86.5 in 2011 to 85.5 murders per 100,000 inhabitants last year, due to an increase in Honduran population figures.

The Observatory's homicide rate conflicts with that published by the Organization of American States (OAS) last year, which put the 2011 figure at 91.6 per 100,000 while using the same total number of homicides (7,104) as UNAH.

InSight Crime Analysis

Regardless of the apparent uncertainty over Honduras' homicide rate, the 2012 increase in total murders puts it in stark contrast to its Northern Triangle neighbors Guatemala and El Salvador. Each of those countries saw a decline in homicides in 2012, with Guatemala continuing a three-year downward trend and El Salvador seeing a 40 percent fall (see graph, below).

The figures also fly in the face of President Porfirio Lobo's declaration last week that security in Honduras has improved, adding, "Everyone feels that it has gotten better."

Northern Triangle Homicides

The independent Commission on Public Security Reform (CRSP), a body that works to reform security and justice institutions in the country, expressed its concern following publication of these figures. It also pointed to the government's failure to pay a private security company in the capital Tegucigalpa as being detrimental to improving citizen security; following non-payment, the company turned off security surveillance cameras in the city, reported Proceso.

Some of the principal drivers of violence in Honduras are rival street gangs Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). Between them they are estimated to number 12,000, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and operate primarily in Tegucigalpa and the northwest city of San Pedro Sula.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

The power of Colombia's elites is founded upon one of the most unequal divisions of land in the world. As of the early 21st century, one percent of landowners own more than half the country's agricultural land.1  Under Spanish rule, Colombia's agriculture was organized on the hacienda...

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras is currently one of the most violent countries on the planet that is not at war. The violence is carried out by transnational criminal organizations, local drug trafficking groups, gangs and corrupt security forces, among other actors. Violence is the focal point for the international aid...

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Organized crime and the violence associated with it is the preeminent problem in Latin America and the Caribbean today. The region is currently home to six of the most violent countries in the world that are not at war. Four of those countries are in Central America...

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

In a new report based on extensive field research, InSight Crime and the Asociacion para una Sociedad mas Justa have traced how Honduras' two largest gangs, the MS13 and the Barrio 18, are evolving, and how their current modus operandi has resulted in staggering levels of violence...

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Transnational organized crime likes opportunities and little resistance. Bolivia currently provides both and finds itself at the heart of a new criminal dynamic that threatens national and citizen security in this landlocked Andean nation.

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

As Guatemala's Congress gears up to select new Supreme Court Justices and appellate court judges, InSight Crime is investigating how organized crime influences the selection process. This story details the interests of one particular political bloc vying for control over the courts and what's at stake: millions...

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

In August 2002, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) greeted Colombia's new president with a mortar attack that killed 14 people during his inauguration. The attack was intended as a warning to the fiercely anti-FARC newcomer. But it became the opening salvo of...

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The mad scramble for criminal power in the aftermath of the demobilization of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) is over. The Urabeños, or as they prefer to call themselves, the "Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia," have won.

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Faced with the government's failure to rein in the criminals, communities across crime-besieged Mexico have been trying for years to organize effective civic resistance. Michoacan's vigilantes express the most extreme response by society to date, but other efforts have been less belligerent. In battle-torn cities along the...

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

If Uruguay's proposal to regulate the production, sale and distribution of marijuana is properly implemented and overcomes political and economic hurdles, it could be the most important drug regulation experiment in decades.