Kevin Casas-Zamora and Lucía Dammert are right to call for
a comprehensive approach to fighting crime in Latin America.
The need to incorporate well-designed socio-economic
approaches into anti-crime strategies applies not only to policies
toward social phenomena such as Latin American youth
gangs, but also to fighting organized crime. This is because
large populations in Latin America in areas with inadequate
or problematic state presence, great poverty, and social and
political marginalization continue to be dependent on illicit
economies, including the drug trade, for economic survival
and the satisfaction of other socio-economic needs. For
many, participation in informal economies, if not outright illegal
ones, is the only way to assure their human security and
provide any chance of their social advancement.