Honduras National Police officers

A new report mapping violence in Honduras' capital suggests that the country's gangs remain a root cause driving the violence, a finding consistent with years past but difficult to sustain.

Homicides in Honduras' capital of Tegucigalpa are primarily concentrated in areas to the northwest and east on the outskirts of the city controlled by gangs, and in territories without sufficient security forces, according to official government data analyzed by El Heraldo

Between January and March of 2017, at least 81 of 201 (40 percent) homicides that occurred in Honduras' Central District -- comprised of Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela -- were in areas on the northwest and east sides of the city controlled by the MS13, Barrio 18 or other street gangs, according to data from Honduras' Police Statistic System (Sistema Estadístico Policial en Línea - SEPOL), which was cross-checked by El Heraldo using information on the gangs' territorial control. 

Graphic c/o El Heraldo

The communities most affected in the north of the city were the center of Comayagüela and El Carrizal, while Villa Nueva, Hato de Enmedio and La Kennedy were the most affected communities in the east. 

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

Experts consulted by El Heraldo hypothesized that the violence can be attributed to an ongoing war for territorial control between the gangs in the Central District. 

Moreover, El Heraldo found that security resources are often inadequate in areas with increased violence after analyzing the capital's 28 most violent regions in comparison to where Special Metropolitan Police Units (Unidades Metropolitanas de Prevención - UMEP) are deployed. 

Graphic c/o El Heraldo

For example, in the north metropolitan unit, where 14 of the 28 most violent regions were located, there is just one police officer for every 881 inhabitants, and only 448 officers to protect 395,666 total inhabitants, according to El Heraldo. 

InSight Crime Analysis 

The most recent data seems to paint a picture of violence in Honduras' capital that follows a similar geographical pattern observed in recent years. 

According to figures from the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University of Honduras (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras - UNAH) from 2014 and 2015 in the Central District, the center of Comayagüela and El Carrizal in the north, and Villa Nueva and La Kennedy in the east have consistently been some of the capital's most violent communities. 

SEE ALSO: Gangs in Honduras

However, analyzing violence is a complex task, and it's nearly impossible to make an empirical connection between violence and gangs. As InSight Crime noted in a 2016 investigation of gangs in Honduras, "unreliable data, the limited number of judicial cases, and holes in government intelligence" makes establishing this connection more difficult.

Indeed, as El Heraldo noted, motives were unknown in more than half (561) of the 994 homicides committed in Honduras' capital in 2016, with less than one percent (66) actually attributed to the country's gangs.

Investigations

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

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

When violence surged in early 2015 in Guatemala, then-President Otto Pérez Molina knew how to handle the situation: Blame the street gangs. 

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...