Criminal Gangs Present a Growing Threat to Security in the Americas


Police in Mexico City

For the first time in 15 years, in 2009 fear of crime overtook unemployment as the most significant problem for citizens in Latin and South America, according to a new policy brief.

The brief, authored by Hugo Acero Velasquez for the Canadian Foundation for the Americas, identifies organized crime, including traffickers of drugs, guns and human beings, as the reason for the growing sense of insecurity. From kidnappings to assassinations, Velasquez says ordinary citizens are in greater danger than they were in the 1980s and 1990s. In Venezuela, for example, the homicide rate has grown by more than 200 percent in 20 years.

Velasquez recommends co-operation among law enforcement agencies and governments, and focusing on middle level operatives, not just gang

Click here to download the brief.

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