To better understand the murder in varying geographies the world’s governments use murder rate, or murders per 100,000 residents. This allows us to compare large countries to small cities in an apples to apples sort of way.
Honduras has been one of the top five most murderous countries in the world every year since 2006 and has been the most murderous country in the world every single year from 2009 to 2014.
Here are the murder rates for Honduras, every year since we arrived in June of 2008:
2008 – 60.8/100,000
2009 – 77/100,000
2010 – 82.1/100,000
2011 – 86.5/100,000
2012 – 85.5/100,000
2013 – 79/100,000
2014 – 66/100,000
Here are a few other murder rates to compare to Honduras to get a better comparison:
USA – 5/100,000
Japan – 0.35/100,000
Atlanta – 19/100,000
Los Angeles – 8/100,000
New York – 5/100,000
High unemployment and drug trafficking have contributed to murder rates in Honduras. Poverty, gangs, and low arrest and conviction rates of criminals also impact the overall crime rate.
The murder rate in Honduras is obviously excessive, but one of the most shocking things we have seen as a result is the desensitization of the culture. Hondurans have witnessed and experienced brutal violence for so long they are getting used to it. A 15-year-old (the typical age of new gang members) would have lived his entire life witness brutal acts of murder. He is now desensitized and a prime candidate to perpetuate the same violence in his own community.
Excessive classism in Honduras has caused most Hondurans to disregard violence as a problem of “those people.” Most Hondurans view murder as a plague of the super-poor. The biggest problem with that mentality is that 54% of the country lives on less than $1.25/day. If it is just the poor who are violent, it should be a concern that a majority of the country is extremely poor.
Hondurans have gotten used to the violence and murder in their country. The only answer is the gospel. Only Christ enables people to care for and love their neighbors in a way that can impact a culture. Please pray for the gospel to penetrate this culture.