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Cuenca, Quito and Ambato rank in top ten for lowest murder rates in Latin America

Cuenca, Quito and Ambato are cited in a recent study as having the lowest murder rates of all Latin America. The study credits Ecuadorian government investment in a variety of security programs as well as the addition of law enforcement officers for reducing the levels of murder and violent crime.

Police perform ID checks in a Cuenca bar district.

In Cuenca, Igarapé Institute Homicide Monitor says that a program that installed almost 90,000 “security buttons” in private homes has greatly reduced police response time in reaching crime scenes and potential crime scenes. The study also reports that video cameras in high crime neighborhoods and neighbor-to-neighbor communication networks have also played a role in curbing crime.

“Criminals are well aware that these measures make it more likely they will be caught if they try to commit a crime,” the report said. “They also understand that the criminal conviction rate in Ecuador has increased dramatically in recent years and they are more likely to face prison time than in the past.”

The study showed that the annual murder rate per 100,000 population is 1.6 in Cuenca, 1.9 in Quito, and 2.1 in Ambato, which places the three in the top 10 for lowest murder rates in all Latin American cities, with Cuenca ranking second.

Nationally, Ecuador is bucking a trend toward higher murder and violent crime rates among Latin America countries, the institute reports. Although Latin America has only eight percent of the world’s population, it records a third of all murders.

Murder rates are soaring in Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, statistics show, after several years of improvement.

The institute reports that Ecuador ranks second only to Chile among Latin American and Caribbean countries for lowest murder rate.

By comparison, the murder rate in selected cities: Orlando, Florida, U.S., 10.2; Medellin, Colombia, 29.4; Berkeley, California, U.S., 4.9; Mexico City, Mexico, 16.7; New York City, U.S., 5.2; and Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S.,15.1.