El Salvador ended 2020 with an impressive homicide reduction compared to the previous year, which had 2390. In 2020, the Salvadoran authorities reported 1332 homicides, which is 1058 or 44.2% less than 2019.
With only 1058 homicides in 2020, Nayib Bukele, in his first full year as president, achieved what the previous two presidents were unable to do, reducing the homicide rate.
This significant homicide reduction is remarkable. Just six years ago, in 2015, the daily murder average in El Salvador stood at 18.2; in 2020, it had reduced to 3.6 per day.
The homicide reduction in El Salvador is one of the principal achievements of the Nayib Bukele administration. Bukele attributes the decline in homicides to his Territorial Control Plan and the Salvadoran national police and the army’s efforts.
Bukele’s Territorial Control Plan deployed more than 6,000 police and army personal to gang-controlled areas. This deployment goal was to take control of gang territory.
Nevertheless, many questions have arisen as to why this reduction is happening so fast. Some point out that the homicide reduction is due to a pact the Bukele government has with MS13 and the two main fractions of the Barrio18.
Online newspaper El Faro reported that Bukele’s government had been negotiating with gang leaders to reduce homicides and gain political support for his political party ahead of the 2021 election.
The report by El Faro showed internal documents from within the Bukele administration and the Salvadoran penal system. The Bukele administration denies that such negotiations exist.
Salvadoran attorney general Raul Melara conducted a raid at the offices of the penal centers administration. However, no charges have been brought against anyone. Also, he has not confirmed that such negotiation between gangs and Bukele has existed.
The homicide reduction is good news for El Salvador and the region. El Salvador is in Central America’s northern triangle, which has been infamous for its violence.
All three nations in the notorious northern triangle of Central America experienced a homicide reduction in 2020. El Salvador led the way with a 44.2% reduction, followed by Guatemala with 28.1%, and Honduras with 12.5%.