Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Homicides in Guatemala 2012

The Small Arms Survey released a report a few days ago on violence against women throughout the world, including Guatemala. The research report indicates that Guatemala is among the most violent countries in the world for women. It's not an entirely useless report, but it's not very helpful either.

If you want to know what the average homicide rate for women between 2004-2009, this is a start. For Guatemala, the average was 9.7 per 100,000 over that six-year period. )I can't find the homicide numbers or the population figures for each year, so if you do please direct me to me.)

However, we already know using PNC homicide numbers and INE population figures that the 2010 rate was 9.44 and the 2011 rate was 8.36. These would be down from 2008 and 2009 which were particularly brutal for Guatemalan women as it was for all Guatemalans. So while the murders of women remain high, homicides have decreased each of the last two years.

The Human Rights Obmudsmen also recently reported that homicides where the victims are minors has decreased since its high in 2009. It looks like they are counting up to 19 as minors but it is not entirely clear.

In 2007, 417 children were murdered followed by 409 in 2008, 510 in 2009, 466 in 2010, and 437 in 2011. So while the murders of minors remain high, homicides have decreased each of the last two years.

Finally, the PNC also just released homicide statistics for February 2012 - and they are down again. Four hundred Guatemalans were killed in February - remarkably, two fewer than were killed in neighboring El Salvador.

It's only two months, but if Guatemala averages 422 murders for the next ten months (422 is the average for the first two months), it would end up with 5064 homicides - 600 fewer than last year. It's still too early to take 2012 projections seriously, but it looks like Otto Perez's administration is going to continue to improve upon the reduction in homicides that took place under Alvaro Colom. Pretty impressive how Prensa Libre now can accurately report decreases in homicides. They must have hired someone new.

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