High crime, El Salvador

This item appears on page 61 of the February 2015 issue.

Levels of crime and violence in El Salvador remain critically high, the US Department of State continues to warn. Since January 2010, 33 US citizens have been murdered in El Salvador, including a 9-year-old child in December 2013.

Typical crimes in El Salvador include extortion, mugging, highway assault, home invasion and car theft. Armed robberies of climbers and hikers in the national parks are known to occur, and the embassy strongly recommends engaging the services of a local guide certified by the national or local tourism authority when hiking in backcountry areas, even within the national parks.  

The National Civilian Police (PNC) has a special tourist police force (POLITUR) to provide security and assistance to visitors in 19 tourist destinations. For info, visit http://politurelsalvador.com (in Spanish).