Crime Dropping In Honduras?

ms-13 (1)For the past six years Honduras has had the highest homicide rate in the world. Each and every year, like the annual migration of the huge whale sharks off its north coast, Honduras has more murders per capita than any country in the world. To put that in perspective, Honduras has a murder rate nearly 10 times higher than the U.S. and the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula has a murder rate six times worse than Chicago.

Is that changing? In a speech on Sunday Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández said Honduras has sharply reduced its homicide rate, 23 percent from 86 to 66 murders per 100,000 people.

photo 4A U.S. State Department travel warning, issued in June 2014, remains in effect. However, recent reports indicate that crime levels have indeed dropped dramatically across Honduras. Officials announced that the government has taken drastic measures to curb drug trafficking and other criminal activities, resulting in lower levels of crime nationwide.

If the drop in murders is true it seems to coincide with an increase in military and paramilitary force targeted against gangs and drug smuggling in Honduras. On Sunday the Honduran President defended the creation of his controversial Public Safety Military Police, which has 3,000 members and operates in 16 of Honduras’s 18 departments (states). Hernández wants to make it a permanent security force, but many are concerned it may lead to a militarized state. We have seen this fast moving, heavy hitting paramilitary force strike out at gangs in communities where we serve.

IMG_2844Our mission team has interacted with gangs and police alike. We know families who have been chased out of their homes, young girls who have been rapped and have had numerous people close to ministry murdered in recent years. We’ve watched young boys grow up and join gangs and we’ve seen the desperation in the eyes of mothers.

Whatever may be the political and statistical truth, we ask you to pray for our ministry and pray for the people of Honduras. Pray our Father is glorified in all circumstances.