Honduras' military police

Honduras' homicide rate has reportedly fallen by 30 percent over the past four years, but there are worrying signs organized crime violence remains widespread in this Central American nation. 

Honduras' murder rate went from 86.5 per 100,000 residents in 2011 to 60.0 per 100,000 residents in 2015, representing a 30.6 percent decrease, according to statistics recently presented by the National Autonomous University of Honduras (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras - UNAH).

While the homicide count in 2011 was 7,104 for an average of 19 murders per day, by 2015 this had fallen to 5,146 deaths, or 14 per day. (See graph below)

SEE ALSO:  Coverage of Homicides

UNAH's statistics differ from those provided earlier this year by Honduras' Security Ministry, which has been criticized for providing lower homicide statistics than the university. 

"The manipulation is evident," José Guadalupe Ruelas, director of the non-governmental organization Casa Alianza, recently told BBC Mundo

Less encouraging statistics have been released by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Mexico regarding the stark rise in unaccompanied minors fleeing Central America. According to UNICEF, the number of child migrants traveling alone grew 333 percent from 5,596 cases in 2013 to 18,650 in 2015, Animal Político reported. UNICEF statistics show 97 percent of these children came from the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

InSight Crime Analysis

The drop in murders may be a positive sign, but other indicators suggest Honduras continues to struggle reining in organized crime and violence.

The exodus of children from Northern Triangle countries is largely a result of social unrest spurred in part by gang violence and intimidation. At the same time, massacres in Honduras -- which are closely associated with organized crime -- rose in 2015 in comparison to 2014.

SEE ALSO:  Honduras News and Profiles

These discrepancies are a good reminder that homicide statistics often conceal a deeper narrative within a country's criminal underworld. As recent cases such as a mafia pact in former murder capital Medellín, Colombia have previously demonstrated, declining homicide rates sometimes have more to do with negotiations and agreements between criminal groups than with government action.

Nevertheless, the numbers will likely be a good opportunity for the administration of President Juan Orlando Hernández to flaunt the successes of its security policies. The administration has largely favored a "Mano Dura," or "iron fist" approach commonly used across Central America, even though this tactic has been discredited for actually contributing to the evolution of street gangs into more sophisticated groups.

Investigations

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

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 of ...

The Victory of the Urabeños - The New Face of Colombian Organized Crime

The Victory of the Urabeños - The New Face of Colombian Organized Crime

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.

50 years of the FARC: War, Drugs and Revolution

50 years of the FARC: War, Drugs and Revolution

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is in sight. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, for themselves and especially for their children, the enemies of the peace negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the ...

Mexico’s Security Dilemma: Michoacan’s Militias

 Mexico’s Security Dilemma: Michoacan’s Militias

Well-armed vigilantes in Mexico's Michoacan state have helped authorities dismantle a powerful criminal organization, but now the government may have a more difficult task: keeping Michoacan safe from the vigilantes and rival criminal groups.

Uruguay, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

After the lower house passed the controversial marijuana bill July 31, Uruguay is poised to become the first country on the planet to regulate the production, sale, and distribution of the drug, and provide a model for countries looking for alternatives to the world’s dominant drug policy paradigm. ...

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

After the capture of Zetas boss "Z40," Nuevo Laredo is bracing itself for the worst. This investigation breaks down what makes the city such an important trafficking corridor, and what it will take for the Zetas to maintain their grip on the city.

El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives And Negatives

El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives And Negatives

Whether it is sustainable or not, the truce -- which the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and the Barrio 18 put into place March 2012 -- has changed the conventional thinking about who the gangs are and what is the best way to handle the most difficult law and order ...

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is in sight. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, for themselves and especially for their children, the enemies of the peace negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the ...

Corruption in El Salvador: Politicians, Police and Transportistas

Corruption in El Salvador: Politicians, Police and Transportistas

Since the end of El Salvador's civil war, the country's police has become a key player in the underworld. This series of five articles explore the dark ties between criminal organizations and the government's foremost crime fighting institution.

Juarez after the War

Juarez after the War

As a bitter war between rival cartels grinds to an end, Ciudad Juarez has lost the title of world murder capital, and is moving towards something more like normality. InSight Crime looks at the role politicians, police, and for-hire street gangs played in the fighting -- asking who ...