The study on public safety was carried out with official figures from the eleven institutions that make up the Dominican Republic’s Citizen Security Observatory.
The rate of wilful homicides per 100,000 inhabitants continues to follow a strong downward trend, closing 2019 with a rate of 9.9, the lowest in the last ten years, bearing in mind that in 2011 it was 21.9. Thus, between 2011 and 2019, incidences of wilful homicide have fallen by 60%.
The number of women killed has reduced numerically, from 233 in 2011 to 145 in 2019. However, in percentage terms, the number of female victims has increased from 9.3% in 2011 to 14.1% in 2019.
The homicide rate shows seasonal patterns, with nearly all occurring during the summer months or in December. Furthermore, two-thirds of wilful homicides took place in domestic settings: arguments, fights, domestic violence, etc.
With regard to the age and sex of victims, the majority, 42%, were young people between 20 and 34 years old, and 86% were men.
The study also provides information about the use of firearms used in a large proportion of killings. However, the use of these weapons has been declining in recent years, from 67% in 2015 to 49% in 2018. The same is true of gunshot wounds, which fell from 2,542 in 2017 to 2,145 in 2018.
Improvements can also be seen in the entries on deaths caused by traffic accidents, which have historically been the main cause of premature mortality in the country. In 2018 there were 1,588 deaths on the roads. This number fell to 1,418 in 2019. Several studies have concluded that fatal accidents are most likely to occur on weekends, particularly in the timeslot between 18.00 to 23.59 hours, which accounts for 28% of cases. Lastly, it should be noted that motorcycles were involved in 68% of all fatal accidents.
With regard to the theft of motor vehicles, in 2018, 6,145 vehicles were reported stolen. It’s one of the few indicators to increase year after year; in 2016, 5,455 vehicles were reported as stolen, and in 2017 that number increased to 5,970.
The study also reports on suicides, as it’s one of the few indicators with a clear upward trend. The number of suicides in the Dominican Republic has increased from 557 in 2014 to 571 in 2016. By 2018, that number was 648, with a rate of 7.0 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. 84% of suicide victims were male.