AP NEWS

El Salvador’s homicide rate drops sharply

November 1, 2019 GMT

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — El Salvador’s president says the country’s homicide rate has fallen to its lowest level in decades, with an average of 3.6 killings per day in October.

President Nayib Bukele said there were 112 murders in October in the country of 6.5 million.

On Friday, he called it “the safest month since the peace accords,” which were signed in 1992 to end 12 years of civil war.

If October’s rate holds, the country’s homicide rate could reach as low as 20 per 100,000, below Mexico’s.

El Salvador recorded 3,340 killings in 2018, or about nine a day. The bloodiest year of gang violence, 2015, saw 6,425 homicides, or 17.6 a day.

After taking office June 1, Bukele deployed police and soldiers to combat extortions that provide most of gangs’ incomes.