Crime statistics

I used to blog almost monthly about murder statistics in El Salvador. I stopped doing it so regularly because (a) it was depressing and (b) some criticized me for giving El Salvador a bad name and potentially scaring off people who might want to visit. Still, since violent crime is one of the number one worries of Salvadorans, it worth looking at the most recent statistics, as published in El Mundo:
  • There were 1279 murders through May 2008, or approximately 8.5 per day.
  • The departments with the fewest murders are Chaletenango and Morazan.
  • Almost 90% of the victims are male and almost 70% are between the ages of 15 and 34.
  • 160 municipalities have registered at least one homicide, while 102 have not seen a murder this year.
  • The national homicide rate is 60.9 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. The most violent municipality is Quezaltepeque with a homicide rate of 175 per 100,000.
It's still depressing.


Anonymous said…
Yes, even one death is one too many :(

Putting things in perspective though, the statistics show that murders are happening in densely populated areas.

Visitors, stay out of Aguilares and Quezaltepeque inasmuch as you would stay out of Detroit and Richmond, CA. --Like dah!

First, let's not forget the title in the newspaper "Ningún asesinato en 102 municipios de el país:" 102 out of 160 municipalities show no murders at all!

I wonder, how do the US and England, among other “civilized” countries compare to El Salvador in VIOLENT crimes per capita? –remember “Per Capita.”

The reason I ask is I wonder how many of the murders purported herein would be out of statistical significance if health services were half as good as in the more "developed" countries above.

Oh, but I asked you to remember the term “Per Capita.” Keep that thought and check out:

According to this analysis, “Per Capita” is the real key is relative criminal activity. Interestingly, according to statistics from the UN, in 2000 India had the highest "total" murders, but occupies #26 in "murders Per capita," way better than Costa Rica at #19. El Salvador, which was #13 in "total" number, didn't even make the "Per Capita" list.

2000. Outdated…YES, El Salvador had more murders in 2000 than in 2008 (2,024 vs. 1279 respectively).

Salvadorans, just because you have to put up with this kind of information everyday doesn't mean you have to live up to it. Show some pride, work together and we'll show the world how El Salvador deserves such a righteous name.

Tim, I thank you for bringing up mud like this, because those of us Salvadorans with perspective get a chance to clarify what needs clarifying :)

/Fish Guy
Anonymous said…
tim, I would have liked a little more perspective, as in is this murder rate better or worse than in previous years. Are things improving or are the measures being taken to combat this problem not working? From what I've read in the local papers here it seems to be improving, although incrementally.

Again, the demographics seem to confirm that most murders are young males on other young males, usually in the context of some gang altercation. Extranjeros seem to be more at risk from drowning at the beach than from being murdered here.

I read a Lonely Planet book on El Salvador recently and that was their take on it as well, that there is a lot of violence but for the most part it is avoidable. So for those who want to visit this lovely country, they should have that information available to them as they make the decision to come here.
Hodad said…
I believe violent deaths are way higher in USA and look also at the stats for the IRAQ and Afgani mess, they should be figured in

last summer I took my then girlfriend a surgical nurse, 54 to El Salvador, downtown central market, after lagging behind me in the outside vegetable selling area, she said, i was frightened at first, than these people do not fear me, as I see I have no reason to fear them,

true for the most part 99% of Salvo's ARE nice and friendly, since 1983 for me I can attest to this

more violence and danger here in USA and redneck riviera than El Sal,in MY opinion

just keep your eyes and ears open
do not be stupid, and use 'sentido comun'
common sense
El Salvador
a nice country and nice people
but then I am a gringo
but one putting folks to work, more work means less desert crossing and coyotes taking 7k to get to USA w/o guarantees

how many years after US civil war in 1860's was their high levels of violence
years and years
as it was a lawless society in many areas with so many guns
read about it
I suggest 'White Doves at Morning' James Lee Burke, one of the best USA writers

smile be nice try to speak some spanish, and enjoy the culture

you carry a gun, then you are looking for trouble
my gun is between my legs, and my two balls are for surfing and diving
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
hey, this is the best blog outside of el salvador telling the truth of our contry, this is nice that people here in the us are always taking care of that small piece of soil in C.A., i m living in Arkansas but i don t forget where i m coming from so keep going on with this site cause is one of a few ways to see the reality of El Salvador because over here we don t have another channel of tv, radio, newspaper, and i don t watch the websites of the newspaper from El Salvador cause they re full with lies and covering the goverment at any cost...