Wednesday, January 05, 2011

El Salvador's homicide rate improved slightly in 2010

The number of murders committed in El Salvador declined 9.1% in 2010 from its peak level in 2009. In 2010 there were 3985 violent deaths, 397 fewer than the total of 4382 in 2009. Translated differently, there was an average of 11 murders per day in El Salvador during 2010.

This reduction in the murder rate resulted in Honduras pulling into a statistical tie for the highest murder rate in Latin America. The murder rate in Honduras is 72.8 per 100,000 inhabitants, while the rate in El Salvador is 71. (Both rates are significantly higher than the homicide rates in Iraq and Afghanistan, 18 and 14 per 100,000 respectively). The World Health Organization says any rate above 10 is an epidemic.

According to statistics from LPG, 3420 murder victims were men and 562 women. Guns were overwhelmingly used in the commission of murders: 3923 of the 3985 homicides were the result of a gunshot.

One of the targets in El Salvador continues to be the transportation sector, where murder is the consequence for those who do not comply with extortion demands. According to statistics from ContraPunto, 21 buses were burned last year, $14 million extorted, and 137 people in the transport industry murdered.

So the level of homicides in 2010 is not good news -- but it's not worse news than the year before.

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