El Salvador has one of the highest levels of non-political violence in the world and one of the highest homicide rates within all of the Americas, with roughly 58 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. The costs of this violence are significant. The World Bank estimates that crime and insecurity in El Salvador costs the country roughly 10.8 percent of its annual GDP, more than the Central America regional average of 7.7 percent, making it one of the highest costs in the world. Beyond direct costs, crime and insecurity have an incalculable deleterious effect on the potential growth of El Salvador’s business sector. The World Bank has projected that a ten percent reduction in the homicide rate in El Salvador could boost annual per capita income growth by one percent.
The United States and El Salvador intend to address this binding constraint to growth over the next five years by focusing on institutional strengthening and crime and violence prevention. Our joint agenda, based on the principle of shared responsibility, includes actions to dismantle criminal groups, the fight against arms trafficking and money laundering, social development issues, and efforts related to reducing drug use. In addition, we invite the international community and other actors to help reduce the effects of this constraint through specific lines of action related to our top-line strategy.
PFG Security Goals - Institutional Strengthening
Goal #1: Professionalize justice sector institutions to make them more effective in combating crime and insecurity in El Salvador, as well as enhance the public perception of these government institutions.
Goal #2: Improve the effectiveness of the criminal justice procedures and practices so as to reduce crime and increase the security of the Salvadoran people.
Goal #3: Reduce the impact of organized crime on small and medium businesses, potentially the most dynamic sector of the economy whose contribution to growth is key to the economic well-being of El Salvador.
Goal #4: Facilitate economic growth by ensuring El Salvador’s labor force is protected from crime while transiting to and from work, and ensuring that the public transportation service providers serving the labor force are protected from crime.
Goal #5: Remove assets from criminal organizations and fund and support security programs through the use of seized property and assets.
Goal #6: Professionalize El Salvador’s civil service and enhance public confidence in the government.
Goal #7: Promote a national dialogue on actions to improve citizen security in El Salvador. Actively involve all sectors of national life, including the private sector, the media, nongovernmental organizations, churches, etc. in efforts to solve the problem of insecurity.
PFG Security Goals - Crime and Violence Prevention
Goal #8: Assist at-risk youth between ages 16-25 through efforts to afford them economic opportunities and engage them in productive activities.
Goal #9: Support the PNC to strengthen its service orientation as a means for violence prevention and effective crime control with a focus on building leadership skills within the police force and on improved relationships between police and communities.
Goal #10: Improve educational opportunities for in school and out of school youth in targeted high risk municipalities with high crime rates. The USG is dedicated to supporting the Ministry of Education in implementation of their “Social Education Plan” and the GOES’ “Five Year Plan” by focusing efforts on the four areas of concern described in the plan.
Goal #11: Prevent crime and violence in key municipalities of El Salvador and support reforms, as outlined in components 2 (Social Prevention of Violence and Crime) and 5 (Institutional and Legal Reform) of the National Policy for Justice, Public Safety and Violence Prevention.
Goal #12: Reduce overcrowding in prisons, thereby allowing the Salvadoran prison system to safely, securely, and humanely manage an increasing population.
Goal #13: Enhance the security of the prisons for their improvement as correctional facilities, prevent them from perpetuating and magnifying criminal activity in El Salvador, and help former offenders become full, contributing members of society.
Goal #14: Promote the use of extraditions as a deterrent for crime and a means to reinforce national security.