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El Salvador Reaches Murder Milestone in 2015

LADB Article ID: 79868
Category/Department: El Salvador
Date: 2016-01-21
By: Benjamin Witte-Lebhar

An explosion of violence, much of it involving criminal street gangs and state security forces, produced a staggering 70% leap in El Salvador’s homicide numbers in 2015, a veritable annus horribilis for the impoverished and politically polarized nation whose current per capita murder rate of approximately 104 per 100,000 inhabitants is now presumed to be the world’s highest. The Policía Nacional Civil (PNC) reports that more than 6,657 people were killed last year, up from 3,912 in 2014, when tiny El Salvador had a per capita murder rate of approximately 60 per 100,000 inhabitants and was already one of planet’s most dangerous places. The 2015 homicide count—the country’s highest since the end of its dozen-year civil war (1980-1992) —is all the more shocking when compared to the totals in 2012 and 2013, when a controversial gang truce brought the annual murder numbers down to roughly 2,500 Though still high for a country of just 6.4 million, that figure was mercifully low in relation to the yearly death tolls before and since. Between 2009 and 2011, El Salvador averaged approximately 4,200 annual homicides.

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