Most research that has examined the international variation in homicide levels has focused on structural variables, with the suggestion that socio-economic development operates as a cure for violence. In Latin America, development has occurred, but high homicide levels remain, suggesting the involvement of other influencing factors. We posit that government effectiveness and corruption control may contribute to explaining the variation in homicide levels, and in particular in the Latin America region. Our results show that social and economic structural variables are useful but are not conclusive in explaining the variation in homicide levels and that the relationship between homicide, government effectiveness, and corruption control was significant and highly pronounced for countries in the Latin American region. The findings highlight the importance of supporting institutions in improving their effectiveness in Latin America so that reductions in homicide (and improvements in citizen security in general) can be achieved.