Public safety in Guatemala continued to improve in 2019

The data for 2010-2019 was compiled from figures provided by the Guatemalan National Civil Police (PNC) and formalised by the Guatemalan National Institute of Statistics (INE).

During this period, the rate of violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants maintained the downward trend of the current decade. By the end of 2019, it reached 21.5, representing the lowest rate of the entire period and almost levelling with the Latin American average (20.1). The reduced rate exceeds the target proposed by the Government’s 2016-2020 General Policy, which was to achieve a rate of 23.5 by the end of 2019.

Since 2010, the violent death rate has been following a steady downward trend. It has fallen by about half, from 41.8 in 2010 to 21.5 in 2019, representing a drop of 20.1 points.

Almost half of the victims of violent deaths in 2019 were young people between the ages of 18 and 30. The rate of violent deaths for this age group is 41.2 per 100,000 inhabitants, almost double the national rate.

In 2019, 85 out of every 100 victims of violent deaths were men. These male deaths decreased by almost 9% compared to 2018. Female violent deaths accounted for 15.4% of all fatalities in 2019 and decreased by only 3.2% compared to 2018. The overall proportion of female victims has increased from 11.1% in 2012, to 15.4% in 2019.

There were 33.2% fewer homicides in the first four months of 2020 than in the same period last year.

The overall incidence of crimes recorded in 2019 increased by 6.9% compared to 2018. This was mainly due to an increase in incidences of extortion, which rose from 29,497 in 2018 to 31,540 in 2019. Most worrying is the fact that in 2013 extortion accounted for 15% of all crimes, while in 2019 it accounted for almost half of the total number of crimes recorded by the PNC.

Since 2013, the number of reported extortions has practically tripled, which could be a result of increased trust in institutions, improvements in reporting mechanisms or a genuine increase in the criminal act.

Nevertheless, with the exception of the aforementioned extortions, incidences of all other crimes decreased compared to the previous year. The number of injuries has historically been higher than the number of homicides, but in 2019 there were fewer injuries than reported homicides.

Women experience a higher incidence of disappearances, rapes and domestic violence than men.

In contrast, the data on robberies and thefts showed 51.1 victims per 100,000 inhabitants, of which 8 out of 10 victims were men. Furthermore, 7 out of 10 robbery victims were aged between 18 and 40 years old.


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