Murders in El Salvador fell by 4% in 2013

El Salvador's overall 2013 homicide rate fell slightly in comparison to 2012, but the steady rise of recent months has continued in 2014, undermining the gains made as a result of the truce between the country's main gangs.

According to figures released by El Salvador's forensic institute Medicina Legal (IML) there were a total of 2,492 murders in the country in 2013, at an average of 6.83 murders per day. This represents a 4 percent drop on 2012, when IML recorded a total of 2,594 murders, and a daily average murder rate of 7.11, reported El Mundo.

The majority of victims were between 15 and 39 years old, with 2,261 men and 218 women murdered. Firearms were used in 1,666 murders.

Despite the slight drop in 2013 numbers, the year ended with a rising homicide rate, as December saw 208 murders, compared with 168 in the same month in 2012. This spike has continued in 2014, with 89 murders registered in the first ten days of January -- an average of 9.4 per day. This past weekend alone saw 21 murders, reported El Diario de Hoy.

At this rate, this month's murder numbers are set to significantly surpass those of January 2013, when a total of 196 murders were committed, at an average of 6.3 per day.

InSight Crime Analysis

Last year marked the second straight year El Salvador saw a drop in homicides. Although not nearly as dramatic as the drop between 2011 and 2012, this trend is still largely attributable to the truce between the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and Barrio 18 street gangs.

However, while the murder rate from January to April of 2013 was 45 percent lower than in 2012, it began increasing in May and June and has crept upwards ever since, fuelling skepticism about the sustainability of the truce. The gains seen under the truce were further undermined in December with the discovery of mass graves possibly linked to gang violence, raising questions as to the true number of murders committed.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives and Negatives

While it is difficult to say with any certainty what is causing the gangs to return to violence, officials have expressed to InSight Crime there is not only an increase in fighting between gangs, but also within gangs. Maintaining the truce has clearly placed a strain on gang cohesion and unity, especially as leaders in the jails gain the appearance of being some of the few beneficiaries of the pact with more visiting rights and better conditions in prisons.

Nonetheless, as InSight Crime has noted previously, violence levels should not be taken as the only measure of the success -- or failure -- of the truce.

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.