Crime and Violence: Obstacles to Development in Latin America and Caribbean cities

Por Nathalie Alvarado and Robert Muggah

Crime and violence are a common threat to Latin America and the Caribbean, but their manifestations vary across countries, cities, and neighborhoods. Reducing and preventing crime is fundamental to achieving sustainable development in our region, and local governments are strategically positioned to tackle this challenge.

Today’s cities are increasingly innovating with crime and violence prevention programs. Ensuring the safety and security of citizens is one of – some might even say the primary – functions of municipal governments. Owing to their proximity to local neighborhoods, mayors and other local actors are particularly well located to play a central role in designing, implementing and evaluating strategies to make cities safer and more secure. And while there are obvious benefits to be gained from improving the overall security of cities, they are far from guaranteed. In many parts of the world, including Latin America and the Caribbean, there are few incentives and limited capacity for local governments to play a more active role in improving citizen security.

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