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.
|Year||Total Homicides||Daily Homicide Rate||Homicides per 100,000 Inhabitants|
(Jan 1 to Mar 26)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.