Bitcoin utopia El Salvador isn’t homicide-free, despite claims

News has been spreading across X (formerly Twitter), claiming that zero homicides have been reported in El Salvador so far in 2024. This sounds like an incredible feat — unfortunately, it’s also completely untrue.

But, surprisingly, this time, it’s not the country’s controversial pro-Bitcoin president Nayib Bukele or his government that’s to blame for the outlandish claim. Rather, it appears to be down to poor reading skills on the part of a popular ‘anti-woke’ X account.

X account @EndWokeness claimed, “0 homicides in El Salvador this year so far. Until recently, El Salvador had the highest homicide rate on earth.”

It then added, “Incarceration works.”

The claim prompted numerous X users to voice their support for Bukele’s no-nonsense, tough-on-crime leadership style.

However, it turns out that official figures don’t back up the claims of a homicide-free 2024. Indeed, according to figures released by the Salvadoran National Police, there have been seven homicides reported in the country since the start of the year.

This is two fewer murders than the nine recorded in the same period last year. This rate could see El Salvador finish the year with 95 homicides or 1.5 per every 100,000 inhabitants.

Read more: Salvadoran newspaper relocates after threats from pro-Bitcoin Bukele

Violent crime rates dropping in El Salvador

Reuters reports that murders in El Salvador plummeted 70% from 2022 to 2023. If these numbers are accurate, then murders per 100,000 citizens in 2024 have fallen another 37%.

For comparison, this means El Salvador is averaging 1.5 homicides per 100,000 residents which is nearly identical to Santa Clarita, California — which is regularly named one of the safest cities in America.

It’s likely that violent crime rates have significantly dropped since Bukele took office in 2019, but the safety has come at a steep price: tens of thousands of individuals being imprisoned without being granted adequate human rights, and democracy itself being tested by the self-proclaimed “world’s coolest dictator.

El Salvador’s homicide statistics don’t include murders conducted by government officials against suspected criminals or individuals who are killed while detained.

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