Homicides down in Costa Rica and other Central American countries

The annual homicide rate dropped in Costa Rica for the first time in six years, writes guest blogger Mike Allison. Better governance could be a factor in regional progress.

Costa Rican authorities announced that the country registered its first yearly decrease in homicides in six years. The country registered 474 homicides in 2011, 53 less than 2010. That brings the rate per 100,000 down to 10.3 from 11.5.
 Homicides in Guatemala decreased in both 2010 and 2011 and it appears as if the trend will continue in 2012. Homicides look to be down between 10 – 20 percent compared to this time last year.
 While homicides did not decrease in El Salvador last year, the country will experience a sharp reduction in homicides for 2012 should the gang truce hold for the rest of the year. Homicides are down around 60 percent compared to the first few months of the year.

Homicides aren't the only measure of violence and the region's numbers are still higher than everyone wants. However, better governance and creativity can bring about improvements in the daily lives of the region's citizens.

Mike Allison is an associate professor in the Political Science Department and a member of the Latin American and Women's Studies Department at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.  You can follow his Central American Politics blog here.

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