El Salvador set to become deadliest peacetime country in the world

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A police investigator works at a crime scene where five suspected gang members were killed in the town of Chalchuapa April 7, 2015. The five suspected gang members were killed by armed men after they were taken from their homes during the night, simulating a police raid and executed, according to local media. Photo by REUTERS/Jose Cabezas.

A police investigator works at a crime scene where five suspected gang members were killed in the town of Chalchuapa April 7, 2015. The five suspected gang members were killed by armed men after they were taken from their homes during the night, simulating a police raid and executed, according to local media. Photo by REUTERS/Jose Cabezas.

El Salvador is on track to become the deadliest peacetime country in the world.

Despite no formal war taking place on its streets, 481 people were murdered in March — roughly 15 murders a day in the country of six million people — which became the deadliest month on record in more than a decade.

Already, there have been 73 murders during the first five days of April.

Many of the victims were killed as a result of escalating gang violence that is overrunning the country, and the homicides show no sign of subsiding.

Should the killings continue, El Salvador could soon surpass Honduras as the deadliest peacetime country in the world.

Last fall, PBS NewsHour Weekend traveled to El Salvador to investigate the gang violence, which has been attributed to a breakdown of a truce between gangs and government forces. The rise of gangs in El Salvador has been traced back to their origins in the United States.

Watch the report here:

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