Wally, a regular reader of this blog, pointed me to some statistics in today's LaPrensa that might be reason for a small bit of optimism on the crime front. Murders in May of 2007 were down significantly from May of 2006, and there have been 67 fewer murders in 2007 than in 2006 (1477 compared with 1544).
The National Police also released statistics which it hopes will rebut the criticism of last week's United Nations report that only 4% of murders in a large sample of cases from 2005 resulted in punishment for the perpetrators. According to the PNC figures, there were 3642 inmates in El Salvador's prisons for the crime of murder at the end of 2005, 4058 at the end of 2006, but during the first five months of 2007 the number has grown 45% to 5885. According to the PNC, if an extra 1800 people have been sent to prison for acts of homicide so far in 2007, the criticisms of lack of effectiveness in solving and punishing crime must no longer be true.