Better news

It would be wrong to call almost 500 murders in 60 days good news, but for El Salvador, it is better news than the country has had in a long time.

According to statistics from the country's National Civilian Police (PNC) reported in El Faro, the homicide rate in the country has fallen steadily in the past three years to a much improved, but still bloody, level.

In January and February there were 491 homicides in El Salvador.   Compare that to January and February of 2016, when there were 1404.  This was the lowest total for the first two months of a year since 2004, except for the years 2013 and 2014 during the so-called tregua, or gang truce.

El Salvador has averaged about 8 homicides a day this year compared to an average of 18 daily during the bloodiest year, 2015.  These improved numbers continue a downward trend which started in 2017 and has continued.

The government takes credit with the policies put in place by its security ministries.

The improvements have been seen across the country.  During the first two months of the year, for example, there was not a single homicide in the entire rural department of Morazan.   In 125 of the country's 262 municipalities there have been no homicides this year.

If this pace were to continue, El Salvador would finish 2019 with a homicide rate of 45 for every 100,000 inhabitants.   That's a number still well above the 10 per 100,000 which the World Health Organization classifies as an epidemic, but a big decrease from the level of 103 per 100,000 in 2015 when El Salvador was easily the most violent country in the world not engaged in military conflict.

In other statistics cited in Diario CoLatino, the police also report declines in other types of crimes as well including robberies and car theft. 

At this point, we do not know who Nayib Bukele will appoint to be the Minister of Justice and Security or the head of the PNC.  Bukele did not talk in detail about public security issues while on the campaign trail, so it is not clear whether he would change course form the current path.