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El Salvador murder rate falls, though still among deadliest

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — Homicides in El Salvador have fallen for a third straight year, but the gang-plagued Central American nation remains among the world's deadliest. Police Commissioner Howard Cotto told journalists Wednesday that the murder rate was 50.3 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2018. That's down from 60.8 the previous year and less than half the 103 recorded in 2015, a nadir for violence in the country.

Criminologist Ricardo Sosa called three straight years of drops "an important achievement" especially compared to the "scandalous" 2015. But he added that more must be done to improve security. Many Salvadorans who try to migrate to the U.S. cite violence as their motivation.

For comparison, the city of Baltimore recorded a murder rate of 56 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017. Mexico's was around 25 that same year.

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