Project description

The project is an investigative report on the homicides of children and adolescents in the municipalities included and not included in the Plan El Salvador Seguro, a plan by the government of El Salvador (Central America) to reduce insecurity in the municipalities most affected by violence in the country. The project was able to demonstrate that in the municipalities not included in the plan, the homicide rates of children and adolescents are as much or higher than in the municipalities that the plan included. The report is aimed at the audience of, critical, influential citizens and decision makers.

What makes this project innovative?

In El Salvador, homicides are spoken every day. But what makes this project different is that it focused on how violence affects children and adolescents under 18 years of age. To present the results of the investigation, not only the story of a murdered adolescent was included, according to his family, by police officers, but also a search engine was included so that users could find out how many children and adolescents have been murdered in their municipalities between 2010 and 2016.
In addition, a small game was included where the user is invited to choose the weapon with which he believes that children and adolescents are killed more frequently. The objective was to present in a different way a topic that could be trite in a country where between 8 and 12 people are murdered every day.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

The project was published on December 11, 2017. Between the day of publication and December 31, it received 1,403 page visits with an average time on page of 3 minutes and 50 seconds, according to Google Analytics. The special web was shared on Facebook 591 times.
In addition to the metrics, authorities and security experts reacted to the publication. On December 15, in a radio interview, the director of the National Civil Police, Howart Cotto, said he disagreed with the focus of the report, as he did not recognize that he has managed to reduce homicides in some areas of the country.
On December 12, salvadoran security expert Carlos Ponce published an opinion column where he stated that the report opened the door to start a debate on the methodology of El Plan El Salvador Seguro.

Source and methodology

The Institute of Legal Medicine of El Salvador (Supreme Court of Justice) was asked for a database with the registry of homicides, weapon used, date and municipality where they occurred, as well as the age and sex of the victim between 2010 and 2016. This database was crossed with another database with population projections prepared by the General Directorate of Statistics and Census of El Salvador, because the last population census was made in 2007.
The crossing of the databases allowed the calculation of homicide rates for children under 18 for every 10 thousand inhabitants.
Then the database of municipalities with homicide rates greater than 5 was crossed and crossed with the database of municipalities included in the Plan. In this way it was possible to determine which municipalities that had been excluded from the Plan had higher rates of homicides than those of some municipalities included.

Technologies Used

At first the databases were cleaned and standardized in Excel. Then these data were crossed and visualized in Tableau Public.
However, the final analysis was carried out using dynamic Excel tables.
Once the municipalities with the highest homicide rates of children and adolescents were identified, it was decided to visit two of them to interview relatives and former teachers of the victims.
Javascript was used to create an interactive search engine with the data on homicides of minors that occurred throughout the country by municipality between 2010 and 2016. The data read by that javascript code was converted to json using Python.

Project members

The search engine was developed by Carlos Eduardo Palomo, data analyst and responsible for the back-end.
The design of the web site (back-front) was in charge of David Morales.
The interactive map with the data of the municipalities with the highest homicide rates included or not in the Safe El Salvador Plan was prepared by Carlos Palomo using the Google Fusion Tables tool.


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