How to fix Latin America’s homicide problem

The Conversation, Robert Muggah, 28/06/2017

In the 1990s, the capital of Colombia’s mountainous Antioquia province Medellin had one of the world’s highest-ever recorded murder rates: 380 homicides per 100,000 people. After national authorities wrested control of the city’s poorest communities from paramilitaries, mayor Sergio Fajardo rolled out an entirely new approach to quelling violence. It was known as “urban acupuncture”.

A core tenet of this approach to social urbanism involved pinprick interventions in neighbourhoods experiencing extreme poverty and chronic violence. Government and business invested in first-class community centres, schools and public transit, using parks, gondolas and escalators to bring different parts of the city together.

The results were stunning. Today, homicides in Medellin are around 20 per 100,000 and falling.


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