by Carlos A. Mendoza, CABI
Regarding this article in CNN.com: Guatemalans shocked by girls’ violent deaths
The author, Rafael Romo, says:
“Some 707 women were killed in Guatemala in 2012, a significant increase from 431 in 2011, according to the human rights group Mutual Support, which tracks violence in that nation.”
Actually, according to the two official sources of data on crime, the National Police (PNC) and the Forensic Institute (INACIF) the murders of women and men decreased from 2011 to 2012.
According to the Police, the drop in the rate of homicides was 11 per cent for both men and women. In the case of women, there were 631 assassinations in 2011 and 572 in 2012 (9% decrease in absolute numbers). The women’s rate dropped from 8 to 7 for each 100 thousand women.
According to INACIF, which is an independent institution from the Police, the necropsies of women decreased almost 2 per cent in 2012 from the previous year. That is, from 710 to 697. Those figures do not differentiate among homicides, suicides and accidents. Therefore, INACIF’s measures are always above the PNC’s numbers, but they have a high correlation (above 90%). The other problem with the data of INACIF is that the very short time-series that they have (starting 2008) does not have consistency over time. The definition of necropsies “associated with criminal acts under investigation” includes a new category each year, making it difficult to compare between years. For example, the number of necropsies of women in 2012 can reach 708 due to another category that includes decapitation (11 cases) that was not taken into consideration in 2011. In any case, the absolute numbers are showing a decrease in violence –although a very modest one, surely not a statistically significant one. So, with INACIF we can agree that there was not an improvement, but there was not a worsening either.
The numbers reported by GAM have not support in any official source. The methodology of GAM has been highly criticized for tracking violence by just counting news in the written media.
For accurate information and data on violence in Guatemala you can read more at this BLOG, at http://ca-bi.com/blackbox/
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