El Salvador, Honduras & Guatemala all see violent crime rates drop

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For several years (and still to some extent today) El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala -otherwise known as the “Northern Triangle” – were together considered some of the most insecure spots in the Western Hemisphere. But El Salvador’s progress in the recent past can be taken as a good sign for the future.

“But today, 26 years since the signing of the Chapultepec Peace Accords, El Salvador has reason to be hopeful: After years of sustained investment in security and violence prevention, the country’s murder rate is on its way down. The same is true of violence-plagued neighbors Honduras and Guatemala, where murder rates have fallen dramatically in recent years. This regional turnaround can offer lessons to policymakers from Brasília to Mexico City…

Meanwhile, Honduras has also registered surprising reductions in lethal violence after years of topping the global murder charts. The decline actually started after 2011, when the country reported some 87 murders per 100,000 people. Today, the national homicide rate is just 46 per 100,000 – still an order of magnitude higher than during the mid-2000s, but a drastic improvement nonetheless.

Like neighboring El Salvador, Honduras has gradually adopted a preventive approach to try to stop violence before it happens. The Comprehensive Coexistence and Security Policy (2011-2022), implemented with the support from the UN, has built on extensive support provided by the U.S. to strengthen criminal investigation and community outreach…

While registering a less dramatic fall than other countries in the Northern Triangle, Guatemala too has made impressive gains in public security. The murder rate there started falling in 2009, when it averaged 46 per 100,000. And while homicidal violence dropped just 4 percent between 2016 and 2017, last year’s rate of 26 per 100,000 is half of what it was eight years earlier, and close to the regional average.”

This article originally appeared in Americas Quarterly

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