In 2024, El Salvador’s Homicide Rate Is 0.29 per Day or 1.7 Homicides per Every 100,000 Inhabitants

By Eddie Galdamez  | Updated on Feb 4th, 2024
El Salvador Homicide RateSalvadoran Army Personnel. Image by @DefensaSV

El Salvador starts 2024 with lower homicide numbers than last year; as of February 3, 2024, the country’s homicide rate stands at 0.29 per day or 1.7 homicides per every 100,000 inhabitants. Furthermore, thus far this year, El Salvador has achieved 27 days with zero homicides.

In 2023, El Salvador’s Homicide Rate was 0.42 per day or 2.4 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, a decrease of 69% compared to 2022, resulting in 342 fewer murders, a remarkable transformation since 2015, when El Salvador earned the infamous label of “the murder capital of the world.

Based on the number of homicides and days without murders, 2023 is by far the safest year in El Salvador since 1992, the end of the civil war. The safety trend is continuing in 2024.

El Salvador Homicide Rate
Year Total Homicides Daily Homicide Rate Homicides per 100,000 Inhabitants
2024
*Jan 1 to Feb 3
10 0.29 1.7
*Estimated
2023 154 0.42 2.4
2022 496 1.36 7.8
2021 1147 3.14 18.1
2020 1341 3.67 21.2
2019 2398 6.57 35.8
2018 3346 9.17 50.4
2017 3962 10.85 60.2
2016 5280 14.47 81.0
2015 6656 18.24 103.0
2014 3921 10.74 61.3
2013 2513 6.88 40.6
2012 2594 7.11 42.1
2011 4371 11.98 71.2
2010 3987 10.92 65.2

SEE ALSO: El Salvador State of Exception; a security measure implemented to fight gangs

The homicide stats for 2022, 2023, and 2024 do not include the deaths of alleged gang members who have died in confrontations with Salvadoran security forces, 120 deaths in 2022, 38 in 2023, and zero thus far in 2024.

El Salvador Homicide Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants
El Salvador Daily Homicide Rate
El Salvador Yearly Homicides

The Bukele administration credits its Territorial Control Plan security measure and the State of Exception for the incredible homicide reduction in El Salvador.

The government 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, the Bukele administration introduced the controversial State of Exception, a direct attack on Salvadoran criminal gangs.

Daily Homicide Rate Under President Bukele
Month 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
January 9.29 3.87 3.58 2.65 0.35 0.29
February 7.36 4.00 3.86 2.71 0.50 0.33
March 7.68 2.26 3.61 5.35 0.39
April 10.77 4.97 3.50 0.77 0.33
May 9.26 2.13 3.77 0.52 0.55
June 7.70 2.43 2.93 0.87 0.33
July 5.00 3.77 2.94 0.55 0.26
August 4.19 4.10 1.84 0.61 0.52
September 4.93 4.37 2.03 0.63 0.33
October 4.00 5.10 2.61 0.61 0.65
November 4.60 3.30 4.03 0.63 0.30
December 4.19 3.71 3.06 0.45 0.55

SEE ALSO: Days Without Homicides in El Salvador

Homicides per Month Under President Bukele
Month 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
January 288 120 111 82 11 9
February 206 116 108 76 14 1
March 238 70 112 166 12
April 323 149 105 23 10
May 287 66 117 16 17
June 231 73 88 26 10
July 155 117 91 17 8
August 130 127 57 19 16
September 148 131 61 19 10
October 124 158 81 19 20
November 138 99 121 19 9
December 130 115 95 14 17

Compared to what the country experienced in the previous 30 years, this homicide reduction gained in the last two years is an immense achievement for the current administration.

Homicide Rate Under the Bukele Administration

President Nayib Bukele took office on June 1, 2019, and one of the first items on his agenda was to deal with the country’s security problems. To that effect, he launched his territorial control security plan to fight gangs and reduce the country’s violence.

2020, the first full year of Nayib Bukele in office, set a low record in homicides; it reduced it to 21.2 murders per 100,000 inhabitants or 3.67 per day.

The record for the fewest homicides achieved in 2020 was surpassed in 2021, again in 2022, and once again in 2023.

President Bukele and his administration credit the homicide reduction to their security measures. However, members of Bukele’s opposition and the U.S. government alleged that this reduction resulted from 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 these 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.

El Salvador’s Homicide Rate Since 1991

Since 1991, El Salvador has been one of the most violent countries in the world, not at war. The country entered the list of the top 20 countries with a high homicide rate in 1994. 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. High homicide rates are one of the most common challenges El Salvador has faced in the last 30-plus years.