Ecuador moved to second place in 2016 among Latin America countries for lowest homicide rate and officials say the numbers will be even better in 2017.
The country’s reported 5.5 murders for per 100,000 inhabitants last year, trailing only Chile, with 3.3, for lowest rate in the region.
With a murder rate of less than 6 per 100,000 Ecuador earned international “safe country” rating from the United Nation’s bureau of crime and safety statistics.
“Ecuador has made outstanding gains in reducing the rates of crime and murder,” Interior Minister, Pedro Solines Chacón, said Wednesday in an interview in Radio Vigía in Quito. “Our goal for 2017 is 4.9 homicides per 100,000 thousand. Within five years, we hope to have the third lowest rate in the Western Hemisphere, only behind Canada and Chile,” adding that Ecuador will soon overtake the U.S. in the category. The U.S. moved up slightly in 2016, to 4.7.
InSight Crime, an international clearing house of crime statistics, says Ecuador’s homicide rate improvement is the best in the world over the past 10 years. In 2006, it stood at 19.8, four times higher than the latest rate.
Murder rates in 2016 for other Latin American countries are 26.5 per 100,000 in Colombia, 11.5 in Panama, 12.5 in Mexico, and 11.5 in Costa Rica.
Among Ecuador’s largest cities, Cuenca and Loja have the lowest murder rates, at about three per 100,000. Quito’s rate is 6.5.