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Sad record in Latin America: it continues to be the region with the most murders, according to the UN

2023-12-08T22:47:42.864Z

Highlights: Latin America and the Caribbean has one-third of the world's homicides. Jamaica has the highest homicide rate in the world, according to the UN. Brazil has an average of almost 131 homicides per day, or five every hour. Rates of violence are falling globally, but are growing in countries such as Ecuador and Nicaragua. the Global Homicide Study of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was released on Tuesday. The study notes that the region has generally experienced a downward trend in homicide rates since 2017.


A new report showed that these countries account for one-third of the world's homicides. Rates of violence are falling globally, but are growing in countries such as Ecuador and Nicaragua.


27% of the 458,000 homicides recorded in 2021 in the world were committed in Latin America and the Caribbean, which once again remained the most violent region on the planet, despite the fact that the general trend continues to be downward, with exceptions in countries such as Ecuador, Nicaragua and Panama.

In 2021, eight of the ten countries with the highest rates of this type of crime worldwide were in this region, according to data compiled in the Global Homicide Study of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

That report notes that Jamaica was, with 52.13 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, the country with the highest homicide rate in the world, while Brazil, with 47,722 murders (11% of the world total), according to 2020 data, had the highest number in absolute numbers. As a result, Brazil has an average of almost 131 homicides per day, or five every hour.

"Latin America and the Caribbean not only consistently has the highest homicide rate of all subregions, but also had the highest proportion of organized crime-related homicides worldwide in 2021," the UNODC says.

The situation varies greatly from country to country. For example, the highest homicide rate in Central America in 2021, Honduras, was seven times higher than Nicaragua's. In South America, Colombia, the highest that year, had a rate eight times higher than Bolivia's.

Residents of the Aleman favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, carry the body of a man killed during a confrontation with police. Photo: AFP

Less crime

However, the study notes that the region has generally experienced a downward trend in homicide rates since 2017, especially due to the drop in Brazil.

From that year to 2021, the last year for which complete data is available, the homicide rate across the region dropped by nearly 14 percent

The evolution in this period has been very uneven.

There have been more or less marked decreases in South American countries such as Venezuela (60%), Brazil (26%), Peru (27%), Argentina (13%) and Paraguay (8%).

The number of homicides has also fallen in Central American nations historically associated with violence, such as El Salvador (71 percent), Belize (18 percent) and Honduras (5 percent), due in these cases, according to the UNODC, to "aggressive interventions against gangs."

In the case of El Salvador, the study indicates that the government attributes this drop to "the crackdown on gangs and the imprisonment of more than 61,300 alleged gang members since the implementation of the state of emergency in March 2022."

In Central America, the sharp rise of 46% in the number of homicides in Nicaragua between 2019 and 2021 stands out, with no data available for 2020.

The evolution in Guatemala is also striking, where between 2017 and 2020 the number of homicides fell by 35%, an evolution that changed in 2021 when the rate rose by 7%.

In Panama, the upward trend that began in 2017 slowed last year, with a 10% reduction in the homicide rate.

The body of a man murdered on a street in Durán, Ecuador. Photo: AFP

In Mexico, which in 2021 accounted for approximately 77% of all homicide victims in Central America, the downward trend that began in 2018 continued last year, with a 10% drop.

Mafia groups

As in Brazil, the study links this drop to the so-called "pax mafiosa," or the tendency of criminal groups to reduce the violence they exert when they achieve dominance of a territory.

More worrisome has been developments in Ecuador, where after years of relatively low homicide rates, there has been a 470% increase between 2016 and 2022, which the UNODC attributes to "intensifying violent competition between rival drug gangs."

Ecuador had the highest homicide rate in all of South America for the first time in 2022, 27 per 100,000 inhabitants. That year, the number of homicides doubled compared to 2021.

In Colombia, despite the fact that rates are now a quarter of what they were in the early 1990s, the downward trend that began in 2018 was reversed in 2021, with a 14% increase, although last year the figures stabilized again.

Countries with increases in homicide incidence in 2022 include Chile, at 45%, Uruguay (25%), Bolivia (14%), and Costa Rica (12%).

Source: EFE

CB

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-12-08

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