Ecuador’s murder rate continues to drop as Latin America keeps its reputation as the world’s most murderous region

Dec 10, 2014

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Armed guards at stores are a common sight in Latin America.

While Latin America maintains its position as the world’s most murderous region, the number of murders in Ecuador is dropping sharply.

As of July 2014, Ecuador showed an annual murder rate of nine per 100,000 population, the first time Ecuador has been in single digits in the category. The rate puts Ecuador among the top six least murderous countries in Latin America. In 2008, the country ranked third highest with a murder rate of 21 per 100,000.

The country with the highest murder rate in the world is Honduras with 92 murders per 100,000. Other Latin American countries with high rates include Venezuela with 57, El Salvador with 41, Guatemala with 40, Colombia with 30, Brazil with 27 and Mexico with 24.

By contrast, the U.S. has five murders per 100,000 while most European countries have less than one per year.

The numbers are included in a preliminary report by the World Bank, ahead of its 2014 international murder rate survey.

Of the world’s cities with the highest murder rates, 34 of 50 are in Latin America. Mexico’s Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, which compiled the list, puts San Pedro Sula, Honduras at the top position with a murder rate of 187 per 100,000. It is followed by Acapulco, Mexico  at 133 and Caracas, Venezuela at 104.

No Ecuadorian cities made the list. The cities closest to Ecuador that did are Medellin and Cali, Colombia.

Brazil had 16 cities in the top 50 most murderous followed by Mexico with 9, Colombia with 6, Venezuela with five. The U.S. had four on the list, including New Orleans and Detroit.