Security and safeguarding the lives of Salvadorans have been part of the main axes of the government of President Nayib Bukele, who has achieved, through the implementation of security strategies such as the Territorial Control Plan (PCT) and the exception regime, lowering the daily average of up to 30 homicides during the ARENA and FMLN governments to less than two homicides per day in 2022.
On December 15, after another day without murders, President Bukele affirmed that El Salvador is already the safest country in Latin America.
“El Salvador is already irrefutably the safest country in Latin America. It is incredible to think that until a few years ago, we were the most dangerous country in the world. A good government gives results; a bad government makes excuses. God with us!” The president posted on Twitter.
The president’s opinion was shared by Defense Minister René Francis Merino Monroy, who assured that 2022 would close with a rate of 10 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, a figure that would position El Salvador as the safest country on the continent.
“In El Salvador, the projection for this year will be 10 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. We want to reach that which is the lowest; in fact, on the continent, we are already heading towards being the safest country,” said Merino Monroy.
This figure contrasts sharply with that of 2015, the most violent year in Salvadoran history. In that year, 6,650 people were murdered, and the homicide rate reached 105 per 100,000 inhabitants throughout the country (see graph).
From January 1 to December 31, 2022, authorities reported a total of 176 days with zero homicides nationwide; of these, 169 were achieved in the nine months of the emergency regime.
During the security regime, the two months with the most days without murders in its 201-year history were also achieved (July and August, which closed with 21 days with zero homicides each).
These were followed by October and November, which each ended with 20 days without deaths from violence nationwide.
Statistics from the National Civil Police (PNC) reflect that in all of November there were only 13 homicides, making it the safest November in the entire history of El Salvador compared to the Novembers of previous years.
In the eleventh month of 2022, the authorities reported that the maximum number of homicides per day was two cases, while in 2018, there were eight crimes per day; in 2015, the most violent year in El Salvador, in all of November there were 449 murders.
COMPLETE WEEKS WITHOUT HOMICIDES
Between May and December 2022, authorities across the country reached eight periods with at least seven consecutive days without murders.
The first full week without homicides was reported between May 14 and May 20; in July, there were eight consecutive days (from 16 to 23); the longest period of consecutive days without deaths from violence (10 days) was achieved between August 10 and 19.
Another seven days were reported between August 29 and September 4; between September 7 and 13, there were seven more consecutive days with zero homicides; from October 18 to 25, eight consecutive days were recorded; between November 6 and 12, there was another full week without deaths from violence; and the last period with seven consecutive days without murders was achieved between November 30 and December 6.
HIGH CONFIDENCE IN INSTITUTIONS
The drastic decrease in homicides is due, to a large extent, to the joint work of the National Civil Police, the Armed Forces, and the Ministry of Security, institutions that, according to the latest survey carried out by “La Prensa Gráfica” (opposition media outlet), are the best evaluated by the Salvadoran population.
According to the survey, the Armed Forces have 89.9% approval of the population, the Police have 85.3% approval, and the Ministry of Security has 85.2% approval. The confidence of the population in the institutions has grown thanks to the security plans promoted by the government.
Throughout the year, the PNC maintained its effectiveness in solving crimes, among them homicides and femicides, and 2023 has begun with the same dynamics since, in record time, Juan Carlos de la Cruz was arrested in Cojutepeque, Cuscatlán, after having murdered his life partner. The arrest was in the act of flagrante delicto before he fled.
“The crime occurred after a discussion early this Sunday, January 1. It will be sent to the @FGR_SV so that it responds to justice,” the police published after the arrest.
The act, classified by the Penal Code as a femicide, has a penalty of up to 50 years in prison. It happened in an inn located on 3rd East Street and General Brioso Avenue in Cojutepeque. The victim was identified as Abigaíl Nolasco.