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Crime's Toll on Latin America

January 29, 2013 09:30:52 am
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Mexican troops operating a random checkpoint in 2009. Photo by Homan05, via Wikimedia Commons

Crime in Latin American and Caribbean countries has undermined trust in public institutions, damaged economies, hurt property values and had a dramatic impact on women and youth, according to a new series of studies on violence in the region.

The eights reports were commissioned by the Inter-American Development Bank, an organization that finances development in Latin America and the Caribbean, and were presented at a gathering of researchers in Washington, D.C. last week.

Researchers determined that violence costs Uruguay 3.1 percent of its gross domestic product ($1.2 billion a year), found lower employment and business ownership in Mexican regions struggling with drug cartel violence, and noted a correlation in seven countries between exposure to violence among pregnant women and low birth weight. 

A study of juvenile detention in Colombia found that "youths who are captured and sentenced are 15 percent less likely to access the formal education system."

Read the papers HERE.


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Posted by Irvin Waller
Tuesday, February 05, 2013 08:03

Great report.

Unfortunately what is most horrifying about the toll of violence in Latin America is the lack of investment in what the WHO, UN Habitati, Karmen, 2000 and Waller 2006 and others have been saying.

Violence is not preventable by focusing on policing and incarceration. It is preventable by looking at the evidence without the blinkers of criminal justice from the 18th century – even in 21st century form.

Just as the massive over expenditures on law enforcement and incarceration have brought States to their knees with little real impact on crime. So massive use of these same failed policies in regions of ultra high violence like New Orleans or Central America brings the same results.

Let´s wake up the policy making world with a sequel to your great article on what might have worked and go outside the clique who thinks everything in NYC was due to policing. Good bibliotherapy is Karmen and a more complete set of proposals on in my Less Law, More Order. Here is a teaser – http://bit.ly/VicSRs

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