Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Homicide rates in El Salvador and Guatemala

In El Salvador homicides fell in 2012, Boz got me thinking. The gang truce was announced in March. Had the truce been in effect all 2012 and the country averaged 5 murders each day throughout the entire year, it would have finished the year with 1,825 instead of 2,576. With a population of around 6.2 million, 1,825 homicides would lead to a rate of 29 per 100,000.

Should Guatemala attempt a truce? I wouldn't say no, but it's already lowered its homicide rate each of the last three years and it now sits at around 34, lower than El Salvador's for 2012 and just a bit higher that El Salvador's would have been had a truce been in effect all year long.

Guatemala's homicide rate has never been in the same league as El Salvador's. There are more murders in Guatemala but that's becuase the population is over two times greater than that of El Salvador.

Now, Honduras is another thing...


  1. The presence of the major gangs in Guatemala is of a different character then in El Salvador, as UNODC point out in their recent research. A truce would not have the same effect in Guatemala as to bringing down the homicide rates, as the MS13 and Barrio 18 are not so much engaged in a turf war.

  2. The lack of turf battles in Guatemala is probaby why El Salvador's murder rate was nearly double that of Guatemala - ~70 vs. 39 - in 2011. Even with a ten month gang truce, El Salvador's murder rate was still higher than that of Guatemala.