Crime in Guatemala Still a Dilemma

Crime in Guatemala Still a DilemmaGuatemala, Oct 30. -President Alvaro Colom affirms that violent deaths in Guatemala have decreased, but recent autopsy figures point to an increase in the crime rate.

Colom and his Interior Minister Carlos Menocal said that from January to September of this year, 430 less people were violently murdered than in the same period in 2009.

Menocal said the figures were encouraging, and that data from his ministry showed an average of 16 crimes reported daily in Guatemala, contrasting with 18 per day in 2009 and the 20 per day in 2006.

This was the result of crime prevention policies, operative plans, and dismantling of gangs, he said.

However, neither Colom nor Menocal mentioned a report from the National Institute of Forensic Sciences asserting an increase in average daily crimes in the first three weeks of October.

During that three-week period, 302 men and 36 women were killed by firearms or other weapons, raising the rate from 14 to 17, based on the number of autopsies performed by the institute.

The majority of violent deaths, not only in Guatemala but in other Central American nations, are related to drug trafficking activities, Menocal said.

Four of every ten murders reported are linked to drug trafficking, and half of them are executions due to settling of scores or business among drug dealers, Menocal said. (Prensa Latina)