The blistering growth of crime and violence in many countries of Latin America in recent years has not only entailed high economic and social costs but also, by undermining trust among citizens and public authorities, compromised democratic governance and state legitimacy. The causes of crime are varied and complex: Beliefs, perceptions, self-control, and other personality traits can tip an individual into crime, while physical and social environment, opportunity, incentives provided by illegal markets (e.g., drugs), and the credibility and efficiency of the criminal justice system also play critical roles in potential criminals’ decision-making processes. Thus, policymakers’ efforts to improve public safety target a wide range of factors, including family, school, neighborhood, community, urban infrastructure, economic regulations, police, justice and prisons.
CAF’s recently released 2014 Economy and Development Report (RED 2014) seeks to open spaces for reflection and debate for the design and implementation of better public policies in the area of safety. For this, it is necessary to have reliable measurements and statistics regarding the incidence of crime, as well as public policy initiatives that are subject to monitoring and evaluations to learn about their impacts, and generate institutional capacities to improve decision making and its effective implementation.
On April 28, Brookings-CERES Economic and Social Policy in Latin America Initiative (ESPLA) will host Daniel Ortega, CAF’s director of the Impact Evaluation and Policy Learning Unit, for a short presentation of the report. Following Mr. Ortega’s remarks, a distinguished panel of expert will comment on the topic. After the program, the panelists will take questions from the audience.