The director of the National Civil Police (PNC) announced on November 1 that homicide rates declined during the first ten months of 2018 compared to the previous year. According to PNC statistics, there were 2814 homicide cases from January through October, a 16 percent decrease. Police officials attributed the drop in cases to the increased security presence in communities threatened by gangs, as well as the targeting of gang leaders and other critical members. Despite this relative improvement, El Salvador continues to record some of the highest homicide rates in the world.
The country, including the capital San Salvador, continues to suffer from extremely high murder rates and other violent crime attributed to gangs, notably Barrio 18 and MS-13. El Salvador remains one of the most violent countries in the world, with more homicides registered in recent years than during the Salvadoran civil war.
Individuals in El Salvador are advised to remain vigilant, report all suspicious objects and behavior, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
More generally, visitors to El Salvador should note that some Western governments advise against using all public transportation in El Salvador, including passenger buses, and to avoid nonessential travel to various parts of the country due to security concerns. Individuals present in El Salvador are advised to maintain a low profile (conceal signs of wealth), drive with windows closed and doors locked, and keep in mind that criminals may be armed (do not resist if confronted, and do not look your attacker directly in the eye).
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