San Salvador: Five Years Out of the 50 Most Violent Cities in the World

By Eddie Galdamez  | Updated on Feb 2nd, 2024
San Salvador Historic DowntownSan Salvador Historic Downtown

Since 2019, the city of San Salvador is no longer one of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world. The Salvadoran capital city left the notorious list as one of the top most dangerous cities in the world in 2019 and has not returned since.

The cities of El Salvador (in particular the capital city, San Salvador) disappeared from the map of the 50 most violent cities in the world in 2019. In 2015, San Salvador was ranked third. It is an extraordinary result that must be recognized. Tiziano Breda.

Five years have passed since the capital of El Salvador left that group of cities with the most violent crimes. Leaving this list is great for the capital city, considering that San Salvador was part of the list since 2008, reaching rank 3 in 2009 and 2015.

San Salvador’s Ranking Since 2008
“50 Most Dangerous Cities in the World List”
Year Homicides per 100,000
Rank Link
2023 4.18 Report
2022 9.23 Report
2021 27.0 Report
2020 Report
2019 Report
2018 50.32 24 Report
2017 59.06 17 Report
2016 83.39 7 Report
2015 108.54 3 Report
2014 61.21 13 Report
2013 44.74 27 Report
2012 32.48 44 Report
2011 58.63 20 Report
2010 76.12 16 Report
2009 95.00 3 Report
2008 49.00 7 Report

SEE ALSO: Homicide Rate in El Salvador

Safety Has Improve in San Salvador

Thanks to the efforts of the Salvadoran police and security forces, safety and security have improved in the nation’s capital and the entire country.

For the first time in over 30 years, the homicide rate in El Salvador per 100,000 people reached single digits; it was 7.8 in 2022 and set a new low record in 2023 with 2.4.

Since 2021, San Salvador has not even been the most dangerous city in El Salvador. In 2023, San Salvador ranked four on the list of the most dangerous places in El Salvador, with a population of over 50,000 people.

Homicides in the city of San Salvador
Year Total Homicides Homicides per 100,000
Most dangerous place in
El Salvador rank
2023 14 4.18 4
2022 31 9.23 14
2021 91 27.00 *3
Sources: Salvadoran National Police. PNC *Cities with population of over 100,000 people

SEE ALSO: The 10 Most Dangerous Places In El Salvador, Based on Homicides

Even if we include all the heavily populated municipalities around the capital city of San Salvador, what is known as the San Salvador metropolitan area, the rate remains low.

The metropolitan area includes San Salvador, Santa Tecla, Ciudad Delgado, San Marcos, Mejicanos, Soyapango, Ilopango, and San Martin.

Homicides in the San Salvador Metropolitan Area
Year Population Total Homicides Homicides per 100,000
2023 1,251,269 32 2.6
2022 1,252,955 97 7.74
2021 1,254,883 211 16.81

SEE ALSO: Days Without Homicides in El Salvador

Can San Salvador Maintain Its Security Levels?

The Bukele administration declared a frontal attack on criminal organizations (gangs) that had control of parts of the capital city for years.

The two principal security measures being used by security forces to remove gangs are the Territorial Control Plan and the State of Exception.

The Bukele territorial control plan has been in effect since June 2019 and has produced positive results. The State of Exception began in late March and has helped lower homicide rates even more.

As long as the government continues with its direct approach against organized crime, San Salvador will stay out of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world.

San Salvador Is Safer Now!

Compared to how dangerous the Capital City used to be, San Salvador has improved to record safety during the Bukele administration.

Locals and tourists alike can see how things are in the capital city. Overall, people are optimistic and feel safer walking at all hours, including at night.

Salvadorans express great satisfaction that San Salvador has not been included in the list of the top 50 most dangerous cities worldwide. As a matter of fact, the capital city, adorned with tourist attractions and cultural sites, stands out as a highly frequented destination for both locals and foreigners.