In El Salvador, security officials state that drug violence caused the homicide rate increased by 37 percent in 2009 as there were 71 murders for every 100,000 residents. Other Central America countries had high homicide rates as well, with Honduras having 67 per 100,000, and Guatemala having 52 murders per 100,000 residents.
By comparison, Mexico has 14 murders per 100,000 and the United States has 5.4 per 100,000 residents.
The high level of deaths in Central America is reported to be due to the increase in cocaine smuggling routes throughout the country. Cocaine seizures by security personnel in the region quadrupled from 2004 and 2007.
Source: Nick Miroff and William Booth, “Mexican drug cartels bring violence with them in move to Central America,” Washington Post, July 27, 2010.