Colombia is set to finish the year with its lowest homicide rate in more than four decades, according to Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas. The final figure is expected to come in around 23 homicides per 100,000 people, beating the 2016 rate of 24.4 per 100,000 inhabitants, which was the lowest since 1974.
The final death toll is expected to finish at “a little over 11,000 homicides” and below the 11,532 homicides officially recorded in 2016, said Villegas.
The homicide rate has been steadily falling in Colombia since the mid-1990s. After soaring to nearly 72 killings per 100,000 in 1996, the rate was less than half that figure in 2007 (35 per 100,000). The subsequent progress has been slower and means that Colombia is still among the deadliest countries in the world, but the figure has been continuing to trend in the right direction since it fell under 30 per 100,000 in 2014.
Despite the decrease, Jorge Restrepo, director of of Colombia-based conflict analysis resource center CERAC, told local news outlet RCN that the country still has a lot of work to do to become safer. He noted that United Nations figures cite a global (and U.S.) homicide rate of around 5 killings per 100,000 people and that Latin America leads to world with more than six times that rate.
“The risk of homicidal violence in Colombia is still high, it’s intolerable,” Restrepo told RCN. “Colombia could easily have an homicide rate of seven per 100,000 inhabitants.”