Ecuador achieved in 2015 the lowest homicide rate in 15 years, Interior Minister Jose Serrano announced Saturday.
Ecuador recorded 6.41 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2015, a drop from 8.15 per 100,000 in 2014, representing a decrease of more than 20 percent.
According to the interior minister, 65 percent of cases were successfully solved. Serrano added that they are aiming for an 85 percent resolution rate by 2017.
According to Serrano, the drop in homicides, making the country one of the safest in the region, is due to government efforts to modernize and further professionalize the country's national police force.
Ecuador also conducted a major overhaul of its justice system after a successful referendum in 2011 confirmed the public's support for such an initiative. The government has also invested in the justice system, increasing the numbers of judges, prosecutors, and public defenders.
During his weekly television program, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa reported a drop in car thefts, sexual assaults, and deaths due to traffic collisions.
There was a moderate increase in thefts and home invasions. President Correa said the increase in petty crime coincided with a period of violent opposition protests in the country, where police resources were reallocated to guarantee security during the demonstrations.
President Correa said alleged criminals took advantage of a smaller police presence inside communities, accounting for the increase in petty crimes.
According to a 2014 study by the Vanderbilt University, public confidence in the justice system is the second-highest in the region, second only to Uruguay.