El Salvador Braces for 8% Rise In Homicides in 2011

Homicides in El Salvador are are expected to rise eight percent by the end of 2011.

El Salvador has already had more homicides in 2011 than in the whole of the previous year, with 4,005 murders committed in the country between January 1 and November 30 this year, one more than the total in 2010, according to El Salvador’s La Presna Grafica newspaper.

Central America is one of the most dangerous regions of the world, with El Salvador coming in second in the total number of murders per capita behind Honduras for 2010, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime's Global Study on Homicide. The country averaged 66 murders per 100,000 people in 2010, with Honduras averaging 82.1 per 100,000.

In November, Salvadoran police recorded 375 homicides, higher than the figures for the same month over the last two years. August was the most violent month to date this year with 391 murders recorded, according to In Sight.

The statistics compiled by El Salvador’s police force mirror that of Latin America’s regional trends from the UN study, with males under the age of 30 being most to be murdered and 70 percent of all murders in the country being committed by a firearm.

The accessibility of guns throughout Latin America has driven the homicide rate upward throughout the region, the UN study found. UNODC's executive director Yury Fedotov said more countries should become party to Firearms Protocol, which supplements the U.N. Convention on Transnational Organized Crime.

"Domestic policies in furtherance of the Protocol's provision can help avoid the diversion of firearms to fuel violence and increase homicides," he said.

Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes has promised to reduce the murder rate and entrusted the task to retired Gen. David Munguía.

"The 30 percent reduction in homicides is the goal we have set," Funes said, according to Univision.

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