The murder rate in Honduras, one of the most violent countries in Central America, has declined 30% in the past year, according to the latest government data.
The drop in homicides has been attributed to Arpía, a security operation designed to transfer the dangerous gangsters to El Pozo, a newly built maximum-security jail in Santa Barbara.
President Juan Orlando Hernández, who released the data, said more than 1,000 prisoners have been sent to El Pozo since the jail was inaugurated last year.
El Pozo holds criminals in isolated cells, away from their gang members, and restricts all communications devices so they cannot issue orders to associates on the streets.
Armed with security cameras, the jail has separate compartments for housing the members of the country’s two deadly gangs – Mara Salvatrucha and Pandilla 18.
“Arpía was a successful and noteworthy operation, showing not only our political will but also the Honduran State’s new capabilities,” the president claimed.
Since taking office in early 2014, President Hernandez has deployed a new military police force to combat organized crime and has increased the defense budget.
A decline in crime rate is good news for common citizens as well as foreign businesses operating in the country. However, analysts say the government should do more to help the nation shed its reputation as one of the world’s most dangerous countries.
According to the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University of Honduras, more than 5,000 people were killed last year.