EspañolSalvadoran President Salvador Sánchez Cerén has some explaining to do.
This Monday, July 13, the Salvadoran National Police (PNC) denied official claims that 60 percent of the more than 2,000 homicide victims between January and May were either gang members or working with them. On the contrary, the police estimated that the actual figure did not surpass 30 percent, in a clear denial of statements from high-level officials.
“The majority of deaths are connected to gangs and crime, [the rest], 40 percent are innocent victims,” said the president’s Communications Secretary Eugenio Chicas on June 7 — reaffirming declarations given a few days earlier from Security Minister Benito Lara.
They were both seeking to ease tensions, given 635 reported homicides in May, the most violent month of the last 15 years.
El Faro, a Salvadoran news portal, followed up and received the PNC’s official sources. These showed that during the first five months of the current year, the police had registered 2,180 homicides, from which only 30 percent of the victims were part of or were linked to gangs.
The PNC Office for Information Access released the following explanation: “According to a preliminary analysis from the 2,180 registered homicides in El Salvador from January to May 31, 2015, we record that 655 individuals belonged to gang structures, representing 30.04 percent of the total registered homicides.”
The PNC detailed the process of how they establish whether a victim is linked to gangs or not. First, they verify if the person appears in their database; then they inspect the victim for tattoos that could identify him as a gang member; and finally, they take into account information obtained during the judicial investigation.
“Data varies during the investigation of each homicide; therefore the number of victims belonging to or being linked to gangs could increase,” affirmed the PNC. However, given that 95 percent of murders go unsolved, there is little basis for such a marked difference or clear explanation for the inflated numbers from the executive branch.
Source: El Faro.