El Salvador Homicide Rate (2010-2023). The daily murder rate for 2023 is 0.4

El Salvador has reached 60 days with zero homicides in 2023!

By Eddie Galdamez  | Updated on Mar 27th, 2023
El Salvador Homicide Rate
Army soldiers and police officers on patrol. Photo by @PNCSV

El Salvador homicide rate in 2022 was 1.4 per day or 7.8 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. The Salvadoran government reported that 2022 closed with 495 murders, a reduction of 56.84% compared to 2021. 2022 ended as the safest year in Salvadoran history since the end of the civil war.

El Salvador Homicide Rate from 2010 to 2023
Year Total Homicides Daily Homicide Rate Homicides per 100,000 Inhabitants
(Jan 1 to Mar 26)
36 0.4 2.4 *Estimated
2022 495 1.4 7.8
2021 1147 3.1 18.1
2020 1341 3.7 20
2019 2398 6.6 36
2018 3346 9.2 50
2017 3962 10.9 60
2016 5280 14.5 81
2015 6656 18.2 103
2014 3921 10.7 61
2013 2499 6.8 40
2012 2594 7.1 41
2011 4371 12.0 70
2010 4004 11.0 64

The homicide stats for 2022 and 2023 do not include the deaths of alleged gang members that have died in confrontations with Salvadoran security forces; 120 deaths in 2022 and nine thus far in 2023.

The Salvadoran government credits the Territorial Control Plan and Estate of Exception for the drastic homicide reduction experienced since 2019.

The Bukele administration launched the Territorial Control Plan security measure in June 2019; its purpose has been to crack down on the country’s violence and gangs. Then in March 2022, it introduced the controversial Estate of Exception, a direct attack on Salvadoran gangs.

2020, 2021, and 2022, the first three full years of the Bukele administration, have set an unprecedented reduction in homicides in El Salvador compared to previous years.

El Salvador Homicide rate
El Salvador Daily Homicide rate

2022, the third full year of President Nayib Bukele in office, registered the lowest record in the number of homicides in El Salvador. This year, El Salvador’s homicide rate dropped to 7.8 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.

This reduction is an immense achievement for the current administration if compared to what the country experienced in the previous 25 years.

Homicide Rate under the Bukele Administration

President Nayib Bukele took office on June 1st, 2019, and one of the first items on his agenda was launching his security plan, the territorial control plan.

2020, the first full year of Nayib Bukele in office, set a low record in homicides; it reduced it to 20 murders per 100,000 inhabitants or 3.7 per day. This 2020 record got broken in 2021 and again in 2022.

President Bukele and his administration credit the homicide reduction to the implementation of the Territorial Control Plan. However, members of Bukele’s opposition and the US government alleged that this reduction is due to a secret truce between gangs and the Bukele administration.

On December 8th, 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued a press release announcing sanctions against two members of Bukele’s cabinet due to alleged negotiations with gangs.

“Osiris Luna Meza (Luna) and Carlos Amilcar Marroquin Chica (Marroquin) led, facilitated, and organized a number of secret meetings involving incarcerated gang leaders, in which known gang members were allowed to enter the prison facilities and meet with senior gang leadership. These meetings were part of the Government of El Salvador’s efforts to negotiate a secret truce with gang leadership.” U.S. Department of the Treasury.

President Nayib Bukele has criticized the U.S. accusations against members of his cabinet. The members of the Bukele cabinet accused have not made any public remarks regarding the U.S. allegations.

In other words, our actions against crime do not have the backing of the current US Government. That is why we did not receive recognition for the large drug seizures, nor for the reduction in homicides (recognized even by the opposition media).” President Nayib Bukele. December 2021.

El Salvador’s Homicide rate since 1991

Since 1991, El Salvador has been one of the most violent countries in the world, not in a war.

El Salvador entered the list of the top 20 countries with a high homicide rate in 1994 (Homicide rate per 100,000 inhabitants.) It quickly jumped to the first position and maintained that position until 2000.

Murder Rate in El Salvador

In 2009, El Salvador again reached the first position and kept it until mid-2010, when Honduras jumped to number one. Then in 2015, it reached the first position again; this time, it maintained the rank until late 2019. Finally, around mid to late 2021, El Salvador left the list of the top 20 countries with the highest homicide rate per 100,000 people.