Policemen from the special emergency unit (Halcones) chase supposed gang members during the night in a gang neighbourhood of San Salvador, El Salvador. Policemen from the special emergency unit (Halcones) chase supposed gang members during the night in a gang neighbourhood of San Salvador, El Salvador.
A policeman from the special emergency unit (Halcones) watches the street from a driving vehicle in San Salvador, El Salvador. A policeman from the special emergency unit (Halcones) watches the street from a driving vehicle in San Salvador, El Salvador.
An alleged gang member is controlled by a policeman from the special emergency unit (Halcones) on the street in San Salvador, El Salvador. An alleged gang member is controlled by a policeman from the special emergency unit (Halcones) on the street in San Salvador, El Salvador.
A policeman from the special emergency unit (Halcones) patrols in a gang neighbourhood of San Salvador, El Salvador. A policeman from the special emergency unit (Halcones) patrols in a gang neighbourhood of San Salvador, El Salvador.
The alleged Mara Salvatrucha gang members, detained by the Police emergency unit (Halcones), are seen on the yard of a detention center in San Salvador, El Salvador. The alleged Mara Salvatrucha gang members, detained by the Police emergency unit (Halcones), are seen on the yard of a detention center in San Salvador, El Salvador.
The Barrio 18 gang members are detained by the police officers from the special emergency unit (Halcones) in a gang neighbourhood of San Salvador, El Salvador. The Barrio 18 gang members are detained by the police officers from the special emergency unit (Halcones) in a gang neighbourhood of San Salvador, El Salvador.
A pool of blood seen on the floor after a shooting incident between gang members and police on the street in a gang neighbourhood of San Salvador, El Salvador. A pool of blood seen on the floor after a shooting incident between gang members and police on the street in a gang neighbourhood of San Salvador, El Salvador.
A policeman from the special anti-gang unit (Unidad Antipandillas) aims rifle at the window during a night raid in Soyapango, a gang neighborhood in San Salvador, El Salvador. A policeman from the special anti-gang unit (Unidad Antipandillas) aims rifle at the window during a night raid in Soyapango, a gang neighborhood in San Salvador, El Salvador.
A policeman from the special emergency unit (Halcones) patrols in a gang neighbourhood of San Salvador, El Salvador. A policeman from the special emergency unit (Halcones) patrols in a gang neighbourhood of San Salvador, El Salvador.
The Mara Salvatrucha gang members show finger signs representing their gang while being detained in the cell of a detention center in San Salvador, El Salvador. The Mara Salvatrucha gang members show finger signs representing their gang while being detained in the cell of a detention center in San Salvador, El Salvador.
An alleged Barrio 18 gang member gives a goodbye kiss to his wife after being detained during a night raid in Soyapango, a gang neighborhood in San Salvador, El Salvador. An alleged Barrio 18 gang member gives a goodbye kiss to his wife after being detained during a night raid in Soyapango, a gang neighborhood in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Chasing the homeboys

El Salvador – May 2011 - February 2014

Although the murder rate in the country has dropped significantly, after a truce between two major street gangs (Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18) was agreed in 2012, the lack of security and violence are still the main issues in people's daily life. Due to the fact the gangs have never stopped their criminal activities (extortions, distribution of drugs and kidnappings), the majority of Salvadorans, do not believe the government proclamations and consider the truce a pact with the Devil.

While the government officials non-publicly negotiate with gang leaders the improvements in prisons (gang activities are mainly run by the leaders in the jail), the Police anti-gang forces keep running their operations and chasing the homeboys (how the gang's foot soldiers usually call themselves) in the poor, socially deprived suburbs of the Salvadoran cities where the young people may virtually choose only between two futures: with Mara Salvatrucha or with Barrio 18.

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