· Almost 135.000 victims of murder in the region last year; cost of crime estimated at $120 billion
· Studies on violence in cities, police communications to be unveiled
The Inter-American Development Bank and the Ministry of Security of Argentina today launched the 8th Annual Security Week, aiming to promote more dialogue and knowledge exchange on crime and violence, with a focus on transparency and on police reforms.
Security Week is the leading regional event focused on crime and justice issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. The region suffers from a homicide rate that is four times the global average, with 135,000 persons murdered in 2015.
Security Week has two components. The two-day Regional Policy Dialogue begins today with ministers and authorities from 16 countries. Then, on September 28-29, nearly 200 experts and other government officials will hold a technical dialogue to analyze and exchange information on regional trends in crime and violence.
Two issues will be highlighted during Security Week.
The first is “transparent management of security” with a focus on governance and accountability in security and judicial institutions. Representatives from Peru, Chile, Brazil and Argentina, among others, will discuss crime costs and spending allocations. In addition, there will be a presentation of some of the preliminary findings of a regional survey to be unveiled later this year, where the IDB estimates the annual cost of crime and violence in the region at $120 billion, or about $200 per person.
The second issue to be discussed is the transformation of the region’s police into more modern and effective forces that are better connected with the population, with presentations from Colombia, Honduras, Mexico and Argentina. The region spends around $51 billion a year on its police forces.
“Improving our institutions to roll back fear and insecurity is a top priority,” said Ana María Rodríguez, manager of the Department of Institutions for Development at the IDB. “The police’s role in this task is central. For many citizens, the police are the first point of contact with the government. We need a modern police force that works with and for the people.”
The IDB is launching a new guidebook to help police communicate more effectively and transparently with the media. This guidebook is the product of an IDB partnership with the Center on Media, Crime and Justice of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. A new study on crime and violence in cities – and the role of information to help stop it– is also being unveiled.
As stopping violence requirements the activie engagement of governments and civil society, the IDB partnering with nine non-governmental organizations in Latin America that are launching a campaign to lower Latin America’s homicide rate by 50% over ten years.
The leadership role of women in the citizen security sector will also be recognized. PROLID, a knowledge exchange platform, will be made available for women in public sector leadership positions to exchange experiences and best practices. The idea is to make the best use of various management and communications tools to promote female leadership in a sector that is mainly led by men.
Security Week is an annual event. The previous conference was held in Quito, Ecuador.
The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.
- Pablo Bachelet