Do Gang Truces Work?


After decades of gang-related violence in El Salvador, a truce arranged last year between the leading factions has sharply reduced one of the highest homicide rates in Latin America.

But did it address the underlying issues that trigger youth violence in that country? Is it a model for coping with gang violence elsewhere?

Two leading commentators debate the question in the pages of this month's America's Quarterly journal.

Prof. David C. Brotherton of John Jay College in New York, an expert on gangs in the U.S. and Latin America, says the experiment has worked—and will continue to work as long as the gang leadership sees continued benefit. But Carlos E. Ponce, a columnist for El Salvador's El Diario de Hoy, counters that the truce left unresolved deeper issues that still threaten public safety.

To read their debate, please click HERE.

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