The bloody statistics show the reasons for this week's action by Mauricio Funes:
Murders Up 40% in El Salvador
SAN SALVADOR – The number of murders in El Salvador between January 1 and November 1 stands at 3,673, more than in all of 2008 and 40 percent more than during the same period last year, the press reported Tuesday, citing official statistics.
La Prensa Grafica newspaper based the figure on data from the National Police, the Attorney General’s Office and the medical examiner’s office.
The number of murders, which average 13.9 per day, is 40.2 percent higher than the 2,620 homicides that were tallied during the same period in 2008.
The National Police added that during last month alone there were 431 murders, 158 more than in October 2008.
Authorities warn that nearly two-thirds of the 3,184 men killed this year were between the ages of 18 and 30.
The San Salvador metropolitan area, which contains 14 municipalities, has had 419 more murders this year than during the same period last year.
Seventy-six percent of the killings were carried out with firearms.
In the face of the increase in violence, 94 percent of the residents of Greater San Salvador supported the possibility of increasing the use of army troops for security tasks, according to a survey by the firm JBS Opinion released Tuesday by the Diario de Hoy newspaper.
On Tuesday, president Mauricio Funes announced a plan to increase significantly the use of the Armed Forces to provide support to the National Civilian Police (PNC) in the fight against crime. Currently, some 1300 soldiers make joint patrols with the PNC. Under Funes' plan thousands more troops (he did not specify the exact number) will go on patrol, search for wanted individuals, provide perimeter security at prisons and reinforce El Salvador's borders. The additional troops, which Funes called an "exceptional measure" will work in the departments of San Salvador, San Miguel, Santa Ana, La Libertad and Sonsonate where the level of crime is the highest. After 180 days, the measure will be re-evaluated to determine whether to continue the military's role.
The deployment of additional troops marks the first significant step of the Funes administration on public security since he took office on June 1. Funes defended the measures declaring that "I approved the increase of support of the Armed Forces of El Salvador to the National Civilian Police as a method of guaranteeing order, internal peace and citizen security."