El Salvador Endures Record-High Homicides in March

EspañolEl Salvador has just lived through the most violent month in the last 15 years, according to a report from local news outlet El Faro on Wednesday, April 15.

The month of March marked a record high in homicides in El Salvador in the last 15 years.
The month of March marked a record high in homicides in El Salvador in the last 15 years. (David Stanley)

In March, the country recorded 481 homicides, an average of 15.52 murders per day, raising alarms within the nation’s criminal justice system.

President Salvador Sánchez Cerén broke weeks-long silence on the matter on Monday, when he addressed the nation during a march calling for peace and justice.

“The government hasn’t denied a surge in violence due to criminal activity in the country,” he said, attributing the spike in crime to “gang backslash against effective action from the state to battle criminals.”

“We believe this gang activity is a consequence of increased operability of the National Civil Police. Of the 481 murders in March, over 140 were gang members killed in clashes with the police,” Sánchez Cerén said. “They want to harm our institutions, our society.”

On Wednesday, the president also blamed the media for “inducing panic” in Salvadoran society. “I believe some media outlets are promoting an intimidating campaign over the issue of violence,” he said.

“We don’t want to ignore our responsibility, as some media outlets have said. The government is primarily responsible [for security], and that’s why we are adding more military units to cooperate with the police.”

According to police, 3,912 murders were recorded in El Salvador in 2014, a 35 percent increase from the previous year. Much of the crime has been attributed to gang violence. Over 60,000 Salvadoran youths belong to gangs, while 10,000 are imprisoned, according to government statistics.

Source: El Faro.

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