The DIÁLOGOS Civil Association presented its Report on Homicidal Violence during the First Quarter of 2018. Its main conclusion is that Guatemala continues on the path of decline in homicidal violence, for the ninth consecutive year. The floor of a rate of 25 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants has been broken (a figure not observed since December 2000).
The main reduction since 2009 is clearly noticeable in terms of deaths caused by firearms. Deaths from stab wounds have also been reduced. Both the records of the National Civil Police (PNC) and those of the National Institute of Forensic Sciences (INACIF) confirm the downward trend in the long term. According to data from the PNC, compared to 2009 we have already reduced the homicide rate by 46 percent.
Although it is true that the Northern Triangle of Central America is one of the most violent regions on the planet, homicidal violence in Guatemala is 40 percent less than that observed in Honduras and up to 60 percent less than that registered in El Salvador.& # 13; In the short term, it is observed that the homicide rate behaves in upward and downward cycles.
During the current government administration, the cycles have been shorter and at an increasingly low level. The recently fired PNC leadership left the short-term indicator at the lowest level recorded in recent years (some 350 autopsies recorded in his last 30 days in command, according to INACIF). It would still be too early to evaluate the new Minister of the Interior and the new leadership of the PNC.
Regarding the victims of violence, the decrease in the last nine months has mainly benefited young men, between 18 and 35 years of age. However, there is also a decrease in the homicide rate of women and among minors. What does not change is the geography of homicidal violence.
Violent deaths continue to be concentrated in three departments: Guatemala, Escuintla and Petén. In those three places alone, where 30 percent of the total population lives, 57 percent of the country’s homicidal violence has been recorded in the last 12 months, according to PNC data.
When making the respective adjustments for population size, it is noteworthy that the department of Guatemala has ranked as the most violent in the Republic, with a rate of almost 51 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. This is due to the recently observed increase in Guatemala City which, as of March 31, 2018, shows
a rate of 72 per 100 thousand inhabitants. High levels of violence continue: Chiquimula, Zacapa, Escuintla and Izabal.
Among the most peaceful in the country ar
One of the most interesting research questions, but without a satisfactory answer, continues to be the cause of the decrease in the level of homicidal violence during the last 9 years. Although there are more or less supported hypotheses, the main causes of the decline are still unknown, since they do not have a scientifically rigorous evaluation.
Given this level of ignorance, DIÁLOGOS recommends the following:
1. More and information on policies and programs, budgets and any type of intervention (preventive or reactive) are required to be able to evaluate their impact scientifically. It is essential to develop baselines to measure and evaluate the results and impacts obtained.
2. It is necessary for MINGOB and PNC to release the data on victims of violence (the so-called “life base” on homicides and injuries), among other administrative records that they generate, for their timely analysis and feedback to the authorities to make adjustments about their actions, policies and strategies.
3. Public policies must be based on evidence, not beliefs, such as those of “punitive populism” (for example, the death penalty, or the lax use of the term “terrorist”). 4. Within the framework of the next National Open Government Action Plan (2018-2020), civil society specialized in security and justice must take up the challenge of proposing verifiable commitments to public sector entities.