Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Different Take on Murders in Central America

Here's what Prensa Libre picked up from AGENCIA ACAN-EFE.
Violence has surged in Guatemala during the last ten years, officials said, because of the presence of youth gangs and drug gangs that have been installed in the country. Last year, according to official figures, 5,681 murders were reported in the country, an average of 16 per day, equivalent to a rate of 38.61 homicides per 100 000 inhabitants. These figures place this Central American country as one of the most dangerous and violent in Latin America.
Would it be so hard to say that 2011's murder rate was the country's lowest since 2004

Or how about Guatemala's murder rate of 38.61 is very high, yet it is no where near as high as those of Venezuela (67), El Salvador (70), or Honduras (86)?

Or how about Guatemala's murder rate has never told the complete story about how dangerous a country Guatemala has been? Here's a ranking of the most violent country years since 2000. These are based upon homicide rates for El Salvador, Honduras, and El Salvador per 100,000 people. 

I only intended to compile a list of the top ten. However, I had to go to fifteen so as to include Guatemala somewhere on the list. Guatemala's 2011 rate would rank 25th out of 36 country-years.  

While we are at it, is citing murder statistics useless when we describe Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala? The Northern Triangle is frequently described as one of the most dangerous regions on the planet yet Honduras and El Salvador have nearly double Guatemala's murder rate.

Then there's the title of post - "At least 19 people have been killed in the last 24 hours." Obviously, when you average 16 murders per day, it's not that unusual that you will have days where the total number of murders will reach 19. That's how averages work - some days below and some days above. The Latin American Herald Tribune picked the story up as well.

My hope that the coverage of violence Central America would improve this year isn't looking so good.

Here are some other posts since Friday in case you were busy with football or the NH debate.

Salvadorans Continue to Disappear - but what about Guatemalans?
Guatemala doesn't count?
Guatemala murder rates (1995-2011)

No comments:

Post a Comment