Honduras Security Surge May Lower Crime Rates in Unexpected Way

Honduras’ president claims that a recent security surge has reduced violent crime, but human rights officials argue that any reduction is due to the fact that corrupt police have been busy with the operation, and thus unable to commit crimes themselves.

President Porfirio Lobo announced that Operation Lightning, which deployed joint police-military patrols in two of Honduras’ largest cities, has lowered the rate of violence by 90 percent in Tegucigalpa and 50 percent in San Pedro Sula.

Honduras currently has one of the highest murder rates in the world, according to figures quoted by the National Commission for Human Rights (CONADEH)

The president blames rivalries between criminal gangs for the increase in violence in Honduras, where there are approximately 20 murders per day; however, the country’s human rights commissioner, Ramon Custodio, has criticized the president for politicizing the issue of public security.

Custodio believes that Operation Lightning has had little effect on crime rates and says that any decrease in violence since implementation of the security plan is largely due to the fact that the country’s notoriously corrupt police forces have been occupied with security patrols, and so have not been committing crimes themselves.