Least bloody month of 21st century

El Salvador closed the month of August with a total of only 131 homicides, or an average of only 4.2 per day.   According to Roberto Valencia at El Faro, this makes August 2019 the month with the lowest number of homicides in the 21st century.    The previous low number was 143 homicides in April 2013 at the height of the gang truce or "tregua".   August builds on the good news from July when there were only 154 homicides, the third lowest month this century.

If the level of homicides in August were to continue for a 12 month period, El Salvador would have a homicide rate of 24 per 100,000 population.   In contrast, at its bloody peak in 2015, El Salvador's homicide rate was 104 per 100,000.  In the first five months of 2019 before Bukele took office, El Salvador was averaging 8.9 homicides per day.

President Nayib Bukele is giving the credit for the reduction in violence to his Territorial Control Plan, and the people of El Salvador are agreeing with him.

I would suggest that it is still too early to know all the factors contributing to the reduction in homicides.   For example, has the effective quarantine of all communications out of prisons prevented gang chieftains from giving orders for murders?  Are the gangs lying low for a period of time to wait for the current pressure to ease?   Have the gangs called a truce?   Are murders still happening but bodies not being located?   

Whatever the cause, many fewer families are grieving this month than during the months of 2014-2018, and that's a very good thing.


Don said…
Do you have any evidence that suggests that the gangs have called a truce or that the murders are happening but they just haven't located the bodies for the past several months?

Finding the bodies was an issue when the gangs called a truce with the government a few years ago. The concern was that the gangs were still killing people, but they were hiding the bodies so that the government could say that the truce was working. The current government doesn't have that type of agreement with the gangs.