Gangs of El Salvador

American Cities Reduced Violence—Will the Same Strategies Work in the Northern Triangle?

Ulises Rodriguez / Reuters

At 11:56 am on December 18, 2015, seven Salvadoran gang leaders got on a conference call. Some of them dialed in from prison, others from the streets. Among the subjects they covered that night was a hit list of eight people. Before they carried out the murders, the gangsters on the outside needed approval from those on the inside. The deliberations began just 19 minutes into the conversation. The first potential victim, according to the indictment filed by Salvadoran prosecutors, was the father of an alleged cooperating witness. A few minutes later, he was given a “green light,” gang lexicon for condemned to death. Other …