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IDB lends $60 million to Honduras for violence prevention and criminal investigation program

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a $60 million loan to help the government of Honduras improve citizen security at the national and municipal levels. The resources will finance the strengthening of the institutional and operational capacity of the country’s Ministry of Security, National Police and local authorities to better prevent, investigate and solve crimes.

The country’s homicide rate hit 86.5 per 100,000 population in 2011, the world’s highest. Rates were even higher in certain municipalities. A full 74 percent of murders take place in urban areas, where the victims are predominantly men between the ages of 25 and 29. In addition, robberies increased by 24 percent between 2007 and 2011.

Honduras has 14,087 police officers, or 174 per 100,000 population, which is fewer than other Central American countries with the exception of Guatemala.

The program will boost the professional level of 3,000 new police officers. These new officers will enter the force through an improved recruiting system and study a modernized curriculum adopted to the country’s police educational system. The program also includes improvements in infrastructure and equipment for the Police Technical Institute.

On average, only four out of 100 reported crimes in the last four years were prosecuted, mainly due to weaknesses in the criminal investigation process. Of the total number of crimes reported to the National Police, only 22 percent had a complete investigation report.

The program will finance a crime analysis center, a criminal investigation laboratory, and technical training in investigation, criminology, and forensic techniques for all members of the police force.

Police performance evaluation and disciplinary systems will be administered by the newly created Police Force Investigation and Evaluation Office. Included will be a system for monitoring, rewarding and sanctioning police behaviors in accordance to codes of conduct. Equipment and infrastructure will be provided for a police force evaluation center.

In the area of crime prevention and citizen security for the country as a whole, work will be carried out in at least three of the 10 municipalities considered priorities by the government in the program “Safer Municipalities.” Activities include local participatory planning, establishment of local violence observatories, and comprehensive social and judicial service centers; and the construction and equipping of posts for community police.

The program also has South-South cooperation processes with the governments of Mexico and Colombia, to support strengthening national police capacity building as well as bolstering confidence in the institutions responsible for public safety, through greater transparency.

The program, which has a total cost of $64 million, will include local counterpart funding for $4 million. The executing agency is the Ministry of Security of Honduras.