President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Luis Alberto Moreno urged Latin America and Caribbean governments to learn from and replicate successful experiences in the prevention of crime and violence in the region.
Moreno has also announced a special fund to complement the IDB loans and technical assistance in the security sector.
In a presentation entitled “A way out of the labyrinth: Citizen Security in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Moreno said that the recent increase in crime levels is “a great paradox” because it occurred during a period when the regional governments were consolidating their democracies, reducing poverty and strengthening their fiscal and economic performance.
He said that in Latin America and the Caribbean 350 people were murdered on a daily basis and that the region accounts for 28% of the all homicides recorded around the world, although it only represents 8% of global population.
He said that even though the Bank’s statutes prevent it from financing many aspects of security management, it can work on specific aspects such as prevention, training and strengthening of public institutions related to security.
In the 15 years since its members began asking for help in security, the IDB has financed 12 programs and multiple technical cooperation in these areas. The IDB is currently developing nine new citizen security operations with a potential value of 328 million dollars.
Moreno said that these programs have given the IDB the ability to understand and evaluate security initiatives that have produced results in countries like Colombia, Uruguay, Chile, Panama, Jamaica and Brazil.
“Some cities in our region are finding a way out of this labyrinth. This should fill us with hope. And it should motivate us to learn about and apply the essential elements of successful experiences,” he said.
Moreno acknowledged that while there is “no one-size-fits-all” strategies for reducing crime the IDB have identified three critical areas that are present in all successful experiences.
These are good information systems, the application of integrated security management models, and international cooperation.
Moreno cited the experience of the Centre for the Study and Analysis of Citizen Security in Colombia, as an example of how systems for collecting and analyzing information about crime helped the city to achieve sustained reductions in the level of violence.
He also pointed to the history of Diadema, a city in Brazil, where the homicide rate dropped from 102 to eight per 100,000 inhabitants in 10 years.
To support governments that need advice in the areas of information, integrated security management and international cooperation, the IDB has created a special fund to provide technical support grants. The funds will also be available to help design security strategies backed up by proper management, evaluation and information systems.
Moreno said that these resources would complement but not replace the broad array of programmes, loans and technical cooperation that the IDB is preparing in the area of citizen security.